Separate research by two companies – Samsung Electronics UK and hospitality IT Support company Cardonet – out this week, has revealed that just a quarter of hotels have money to invest in technology despite 82 per cent of hoteliers agreeing that spending out on the latest technology could boost customer loyalty and increase revenue.
What's more, according to the survey of 107 hoteliers by Cardonet, 27 per cent stated they had no budget whatsoever to invest in the latest advancements while another 16 per cent said they were looking into whether a budget was available.
Graham Long, vice president of Samsung Electrics UK, said businesses could see a boost to business by making room in the budget for new technology and investing in new systems.
“The ultimate goal of any hotelier is to boost occupancy levels," he said. "While the vast majority of hoteliers understand that technology can help them achieve this, most are not geared up to adopt new solutions. By staying close to IT resellers and suppliers and focusing on offering services that will drive increased customer advocacy and revenues, the research shows that significant returns on investments can be realised.”
Of the hotels investing in technology (predominantly five-star properties), it is a higher expectation from guests for services such as free and fast Wi-Fi and remote check-in systems which is driving the need for investment, but many are still failing to do so.
Although 49 per cent of those surveyed by Samsung claimed to be 'pioneers' of technology that enhances the customer experience, current adoption rates for emerging technologies remain low it said, pointing out that many were not utilising Wi-Fi for services such as keyless entry via smartphones or in-room ordering.
However, hoteliers responding to Cardonet's inaugural survey of IT Challenges in the Hotel Industry were more open to investing in emerging technologies with 62 per cent saying that remote check-in systems should be their priority and 51 per cent keen to see more back-end systems integration.
Fear of change
While some hotel managers want to employ new technology, but are held back by lack of funds, others are simply afraid of the change new technology may bring and of the perceived hassle involved in upgrading to a new system.
A third, independent report by hospitality technology company Caternet suggests that, after lack of funds, the main reasons managers didn't want to invest in more efficient technology was because it could lead to staff redundancies, or were put off by the hassle of switching because they may have to break existing contracts or didn't know where to start.
Caternet managing director Jerry Brand said: “It’s a pretty common phenomenon - the fear of change, so no great revelations there. But what is perhaps a little more unsettling is the contrasting view between business survival and a fear of being ‘too efficient’ and risking jobs as a result, yet ironically the failure of one will surely lead to the certainty of the other.
“The speed at which technology is progressing can be frightening, but when all is said and done, businesses simply want to use systems that work. This conservatism or fear of change however, does lead to many businesses operating with poor or old technology for too long; and that means the business loses money and spends more time than is needed on expensive administration."