I’m so glad I was selected from many other candidates for a job with a company that helps to automate traditional jobs. Since starting my Apprenticeship with FutureSens as Marketing Assistant, one of the biggest things I’ve realized is that the majority of hoteliers have a fear of new technology. Aside from the well-known Adoption of Innovation curve so eloquently explained by Simon Sinek here, I think this is because most hotel decision-makers are 25 or over and not necessarily embracing technology. They see the value in the face-to-face experience with guests. However, they are not clearly aware of the win-win opportunity for themselves and guests with new technology.
Young people on the other hand are open to new technology. We were brought up it. Mobile phones, iPods and gaming console technology has been around us ‘forever’.
For the older generation who may not have grown up with today’s technology, I can see why there may be such an aversion. Emerging technologies such as self-service and artificial intelligence… these are things that they probably thought you could only get on movies like Back to the Future (released in 1985 – that’s 35 years ago!).
One of the immediate reactions from hoteliers when they are presented with the idea of new technology is that it will take people’s jobs away. This is even though they have had recent recruitment issues (post COVID and Brexit). As a result, thankfully a new light is being shone on this matter and hotel owners are finally coming round to the idea of self-service being helpful.Take for example the first day my grandmother saw a self-service checkout at the supermarket. She was amazed at the fact that you could scan all your shopping, place it down, bag it, pay for it, and then walk away and do it all yourself without the security man chasing you out of the door! It really was mind-blowing for her. This illustrates why people are averse to it. It takes them out of their comfort zone, making them do things that they would not typically do themselves.
There are many myths that come with the introduction of modern technology:
• The most notable and prominent cause for concern is that new tech leads to mass unemployment. New tech most definitely will kill jobs. However, it will also create them! For those that will still argue the point that it will be a “job killer” look at it this way. Everyone said in the 1900s that cars would be a terrible idea when they were first introduced. From the creation of cars, you now have mechanics, valets, petrol station staff, car sales and many more. Modern technology has already created so many jobs. Tesla for example currently employs 110,000 employees.
• The above attitude plays a massive role despite what’s happening around the globe with soaring electric bills, staff shortages and the challenges to increase hotel occupancy rates whilst at the same trying to balance the books and improve profitability. It’s a clear indication of a need to change for a changing world conflicting with a desire to have things remain as they used to be.
Society is now reliant on technology. This is understandably a massive change to grasp.
I remember when I was young, we went on a family holiday and the way we were checked in was by the proprietor coming to the door and writing us in the book, handing us a key and letting us get on our way.
This took a good chunk of time, but with modern technology this can be done in a matter of seconds which is beneficial because society now expects things to be done ASAP due to the advancements we have made.
So why should hotels have self-service?
Let me tell you:
• There are massive staff shortages.
• The implementation of self-service in a hotel increases customer satisfaction rates and allows you to get your guest checked in and settled quicker. This is beneficial as I have previously said because nowadays guests are not willing to tolerate waiting around.
I believe that in the coming years that the negative opinion of self-service and modern technology will be eradicated as people begin to enjoy the benefits of having it. The speedy introduction of recent technology during COVID-19 for example has happened for good reasons and is now here to stay for all the right reasons (safety, speed and efficiency).
I am certain every hotel will have a seamless self-service guest journey of one sort or another.
All I would say to the older generation is that there is nothing to worry about by being ahead of the curve and implementing new tech.
You can help create part of the new generation’s brighter future!