To recap, in Part 1 we looked at how things have changed for tourism businesses and some of the technological changes you have already made (maybe without realising). This week we are taking a look into how it affects you, what could be expected in the future and what needs to be done to ‘stay in the game’.
“How does the technological shift affect you?”
(report distributed 24th February 2012: written by Michelle Shuttlesworth)
Joel Ross, HotelNewsNow.com columnist, explains in “The Digital Revolution Impact on Hotel Demand” that with all of the new technology available, hotels need to re-evaluate how and what features are important to guests. The new changes in technology may mean new changes in room/facilities layout. Ross says that rooms should have:
- nice sized desks to accommodate guests’ laptop or other work devices
- hotels should have extra chargers of phone and laptop chargers to hand out to guests who forget their own
- Hotel rooms should also have flat screen TVs that can connect to the internet (so the business guest can communicate back to his/her office)
Basically the goal is to make sure that each room is well equipped to deal with any type of technological devices.
For instance, the development of the laptop and iPad has revolutionized the way people can conduct business. This allows people to work from wherever they may be, even in hotels, which means that they will most likely stay longer and travel more. Ross speculates that since portable computer devices are on the rise, the business center of hotels will probably result in lower demand. With people bringing their own means of business and communication, the guest room becomes the new business center.
the development of the laptop and iPad has revolutionized the way people can conduct business
Where could it go?
In the article “How Smart Devices Will Change Hotel Technology” Les Spielman , CEO of Hospitality Automation Consultants, an independent hospitality consulting firm, talks about some of the very recent developments that some hotels have already adopted.
He discusses new ways that can ease hotel check-ins. With smart phones, you can acquire an app that allows you to check-in without having to go to the front desk. The same application can even unlock the door without the use of a room key (Spielman). As more people begin to accustom themselves to these new products and applications, hotels are going to need to keep up with the fast pace by investing in the new technology.
Doug Rosen and Erica Arnold co-authors of the article “Is Change Stressing Out Your Workforce?” discuss what kind of changes can affect hospitality and tourism employees and how future stress can be avoided. Some of these changes include:
- new technology
- keeping up with the rising expectation of guest preferences
- industry standards
- unusual work hours.
Rosen and Arnold say that if these situations aren’t handled properly, it can create large amounts of stress on employees as well as the company.
As far as keeping up with new technology, updates on property management systems are common. Updates on PMS’s are meant to help employees by creating more efficient ways to do routine tasks, but the employees have to relearn how to work the program. By constantly having to adjust to the updates, it can cause a “decrease in productivity and increase stress levels of employees” (Rosen and Arnold).
As younger people who grew up with the state of the art technology and social networking enter the workforce, the way business is conducted will be making a major change (Ross)
Adaptation is required:
The technology of this world is only going to get more advanced and creative. It is prudent for tour and accommodation providers to observe and follow these trends. As younger people who grew up with the state of the art technology and social networking enter the workforce, the way business is conducted will be making a major change (Ross). It is necessary that management stays updated and committed to keeping employees educated about the new developments. This way employees stay motivated and happy in their job (Berberoglu).
This concludes the guest posts with a special thanks to Michelle Shuttlesworth of OleMiss University USA.
What can you do NOW (that doesn’t cost)?
One of the things we suggest to our clients to try is to a new technology focus to an existing task. Something a majority of Tourism Businesses have that is not only part of the required tasks but is essential to a successful strategy is a database.
Your database is all of the contact details you have for past guests that you refer back to when you want to send them a reminder or perhaps make a return offer. This is often a bulky desktop excel file, or maybe an outsourced newsletter provider. But wouldn’t it be good to have control over your list and be able to sort the list into logical segments for targeted information?
You can! Give yourself the the goal of setting up a MailChimp Account to store all of your database. This will allow you to send specific emails that look professional, adhere to spam guidelines and you can track if people have opened the email!
The account is free to setup and there is a BOUNTY of support available from their website. There are getting started guides, understanding reports and there is even a guide called Common Rookie Mistakes.
Set yourself some time to start (don’t pressure yourself into thinking it all has to be done in one sitting- if you are keen then go for it!) and just take it step by step. Have another staff member do it with you so you can both learn and take turns in sending out campaigns (MailChimp speak for newsletters). Learning is more fun when you can discuss it and ask questions, so don’t be afraid to pull in the support crew and tackle it together!
While we might curse it at times, technology IS our friend and this friend is not going anywhere, so it’s best to get to know each other!