"I have recently been connected via Zoom with Hotel operators from all corners of the World. The forum has allowed us to discuss the challenges we face in common. The sharing of ideas has been invigorating and the opportunity to connect has only come about as a consequence of the Covid-19 crisis. One of the few positives.
A key theme has emerged from these discussions and that is the immediate need to implement technology across all touch points in our Hotels. As we rebuild our businesses the need to increase productivity and find efficiencies has never been greater. The challenge we face is how do we incorporate technology quickly and also allow our teams to participate in the planning and implementation without hindering the rollout. Imposed ideas from Head Offices can often lead to resistance from the operational teams. An imagined ‘great idea’ can soon fail if you haven’t got your teams on board from the start. It's critical therefore to ensure from day one that the end user agrees on the problem we are trying to solve and the best collective way forward.
The evolution of technology in Hotels is not news, but the current crisis has exposed many system weaknesses. Many of our administrative tasks are manual in nature, labour intensive or potentially unnecessary. Necessity has taught us that shortcuts are possible, and we are asking ourselves now whether some could be permanent. Good hotel technology must benefit the guest in the first instance and lead to improved productivity secondly. Sometimes we are guilty of getting this backwards which creates user disappointment and frustration within our own teams.
The opportunity to implement new technology has never been greater. It is vital to identify the talent within your organisation that can get this achieved with the support of a strong mandate from the top. The risks are poor execution or the hunt for a perfect solution. I have seen many good ideas stalled due to the desire to adopt systems with all the ‘Bells and Whistles’ when taking the first step was the most important action.
There is naturally a question of whether a sudden leap forward with new technology will have an effect on employment. Hospitality will always be about quality of service and so a blended solution of personal interaction and seamless systems will be the reality of our sector in the future."
– By Les Morgan, COO of Sudima Hotels