Technology Base Self Service vs. Traditional Human Touch Service

11 12 2012

Many of the examples of technological advances listed above are clear indicators that the trend Technology Base Self Service is slowly taking over the Traditional Human Touch Services in the hospitality industry little bits at a time. The confusion for a hotel business emerges when they are trying to decide which (TBSS or THTS) will bring them a higher ROI and still provide quality customer satisfaction. Although, we as humans, are constantly being bombarded with technology innovations and enjoying the outcome of their functions, there are some positions in the hospitality workplace that could not be replaced by TBSS. Travellers generally come to stay at hotels to be catered to and pampered. Is it possible for Technology Based Self Service to provide the same level of total quality service as the Traditional Human Touch Services? Some guests may not mind while others will be negatively impacted resulting in a loss of business. Wan Chi Chen from the University of Nevada Las Vegas says “Since it is hard for TBSS to express empathy in today’s technology, consumers would still prefer to complain to an employee than a machine. Human employees can have a better understanding on another’s feeling, such as anger frustration, sadness, happiness, excitement, etc.”Building and maintaining a solid relationship with frequent transient and business guests could quite possibly be a factor that contributes to them choosing one hotel over others in the area.  That is why human interaction is an important piece of the overall hotel experience. However, the simple truth is, you can’t please everyone. You are going to attract some while repelling others according to their interests and what they are looking for in a hotel stay.

As technology is advancing we will start to see more of it taking over. As a result, procedures of the past will be altered, and several jobs will be replaced in the near future. The wide range of innovations will continue to assist hotels in keeping up with their competitions. Although gadgets will bring lots of benefits to the workplace, it will bring some hotels to an all-time low for the reason that they may not be able to keep up with such investments and competitors. Regardless of what is brought to the table, the whole point will always be to meet and exceed the needs of guests.





Technology downfalls

11 12 2012

We all love new technology, especially when we have access to it free while staying at a hotel. However, despite the fact that in-room technology makes guests’ stay nothing less than an exceptional experience, and makes hotel staff jobs nearly effortless compared to the past, there are some definite downfalls. From the guest standpoint, having every hotel guestroom function handed to you on a silver electronic platter, literally, it can be delightful, but it has also made us much more lazy human beings. If the remote that is situated bedside —within arms reach— can turn off the lights or order room service, what is the point of getting up and doing it manually? Using electronic components has also made us much less interactive with the real world. Studies from the University of Gothenburg have shown that heavy use of technology has been linked to depression, sleeping disorders, stress and mental health issues.

From the hotel side of things, there are also issues regarding the use of technology in business. While doing anything online, hotel staff must be aware of copyright issues and security. All hotels use guest credit cards for either payment or authorization, so credit card theft is another critical reality hotels could potentially face, so it is crucial that the hotel meets all of the Payment Card Industry Compliance (PCI) requirements in order to avoid this circumstance. Some businesses are also concerned that they may not get the anticipated Return on Investment (ROI) from incorporating such technology into their organization, leaving them in a situation that can either make or break the hotels future. (This is where FERQ would come in handy.) Lastly, one of the biggest issues associated with growing technology in the hospitality industry is the need for fewer employees. As a result of iPads, smartphones, touch smart screens, online bookings, etc. they are slowly replacing jobs leaving employees desperately looking for work elsewhere. The majority of hotel functions in the future will be faceless.





Technology currently used in Hotels

11 12 2012

New innovative technology trends that are currently being used in some hotels are the following:

  • The do-it-all remote (room personalization) – This allows guests to dim or turn on/off lights, control room temperature, open/close curtains, order room service, turn on the do not disturb sign, set wake-up calls, view TV channels and movies all on the television with the click of a button on a remote. However, understandably, some guests may be somewhat queasy at the thought of touching a remote that has been in the hands of so many others, after all, it is a hotel room. There is an easy alternative for guests who feel that way, to still take advantage of the in-room technology from their iPhone, iPad or android. They can just simply download the app called Lodgenet and sync their smartphone with the TV, which will then give access to all the functions the remote has to offer.
  • Self Service Concierge – This touch smart screen kiosk is located in the lobbies of hotels, which can help a guest find out information(restaurants, activities, flights) without the hassle of carrying a laptop or waiting for someone to assist them.
  • Smartphone keyless room entry
  1. Guests book their stay on their handheld smartphone
  2. On the day of arrival, they will receive an text with their room number
  3. Guests can then go straight up to the room and swipe your smartphone over the door handle. Voilà they’re in!
  4. Guests can also check out the same way they checked in via smartphone
  • In room iPads/ tablet devices – This is a user friendly way to order room service, housekeeping service, make appointments/reservations all at one’s fingertips. Hotel managers can also use tablets in place of the original in-room guide book
  • Digital Door Viewer – This is a handy alternative to the old fashion “peephole”. A little screen that is mounted on the inside of hotel room doors, so guests are able to have a clear view of visitors while eliminating all uncertainties before they open the door.
  • LED touch screen panels – Panels are located in hotel bathrooms, allowing guests to set the lighting, curtains and control music to indulge in an ultimate relaxation experience




Benefits of Technology in the Hospitality Industry

11 12 2012

Although technology can be very costly, it pays off in the long run by simplifying and condensing everyday tasks at work resulting in valuable time being spent more efficiently. Computerized technology has impacted both front-of-house and back-of-house staff in a positive way. While some individuals may take longer to embrace new computerized systems, once they catch on they will have a new appreciation for technology as it has made a tremendous difference in workload while still generating revenue. Many electronic components are currently used in hotels to make work easier for employees and to keep guests content and happy during their stay at a hotel. Some examples are:

  • High definition television
  • High speed wireless internet
  • Telephones and mini bars that are connected to a computer system which automatically posts charges to the guest folio as they take advantage of those items
  • iPads for guest use so they can search activities, restaurants, etc. in place of a concierge
  • iPod docking station/alarm clock – all in one
  • Connectivity panels for business travellers
  • Mirror televisions
  • Climate control

Energy management systems (EMS) have aided many hotels in reducing energy bills. A motion sensor that is placed in guest rooms can detect when the guest has left, which then essentially shuts the room down (lights, television, air conditioning) saving energy and saving costs.

Electronic Distribution Systems (EDS) are yet another benefit of technology in hotels. EDS helps hotels reach customers all over the world by advertising their business online as well as allowing travellers to make reservations at their fingertips in a short amount of time. Most importantly, they are at low cost for the hotel to use, and research shows that online bookings are continually growing. Computers in general have made daily tasks much more organized and easy to access. Storing files on a hard drive in a folder rather than in a filing cabinet with thousands of other papers where they can be easily lost is a big advantage for hotels. Also, with the help of technology, some jobs can even be completed in the comfort of your own home via smartphones, Ipads, computers, etc. which could be a great benefit (provides flexibility) to some employees.

In today’s world, it is important that hotels keep up with the evolution of changing technology as the hospitality industry is, and always has been, a competitive business. As guests are more often exposed to new cutting-edge technology, they will slowly start to have different needs and expectations of what an everyday hotel should consist of.





Introduction

11 12 2012

Understanding the effects, both good and bad, of innovative technology in today’s hospitality industry.  Whether we are keen on the technological gadgets introduced into the work place or not, we need to adapt due to the fact that technology is improving and expanding daily in attempt to make our lives easier. My research findings that are outlined in the following report, will express the pros and cons of technology replacements in the industry, as well as Technology Based Self-Service (TBSS) versus Traditional Human Touch Service (THTS).

Information Technology was initially introduced into the hospitality industry in the 1950’s. Since then it has substantially expanded and revolutionized. In today’s world, technology has grown to be apart of our everyday lives. From computers to handheld devices, any information we are looking for is readily available 24/7 in the palm of our hands—as long as there is internet we have access to current, up-to-date information. In this day and age, there is a technologic device or software used by a device for every operation in the hospitality world, such as reservation systems, security cameras, point of sale systems, property management systems, mobile communication, meeting matrix, energy management systems, key card encoder, etc. By incorporating the use of such devices into the workplace, it has changed the way we conduct business while saving time and money as it dismisses many time consuming tasks.