Does COVID19 mean the end of “Old-School-Hospitality” NO! You should have seen technology coming and embraced it.
I’m a Baby Boomer and choose a career in hospitality as I wanted to organize “people having a good time” which for me meant being creative, rolling up your sleeves and engage directly with my guests.
Technology in hospitality wasn’t a thing yet as it was in the early days of Personal Computing (we started using Multiplan, which was EXCEL’s predecessor). I didn’t sign up to run a “robot-company” and still feel that personal contact and engagement (with a real smile!) with your guest is the ultimate “thing” in hospitality. Those days we used logbooks and later checklists, which are still the norm in many hotel operations.
But I was increasingly fascinated by the benefits of the use of the personal computer, was one of the first active users of the smartphone (proud owner of the first NOKIA Communicator) and made efforts to integrate various platforms (a struggle these days).
Many colleagues of my generation, which today still have real commitment and value for the industry kept on operating like they always did and only hesitantly using new technology.
Numerous technologies have been developed in recent years and are gradually being implemented, which focus on operations, maintenance, building, sales & marketing but also guest contact management. These technologies often replace direct face-to-face-contact with online contact and have great benefits in terms of registration, monitoring and integration of activities.
To be honest: I had my share of frustrating and infuriating contacts with chatbots whilst trying to get in touch with a service provider and I wouldn’t have been a “happy guest” when this would have happened in a hotel. So it is clear that there is still work to be done to fine-tune these new tools to work smoothly to the benefit of all parties.
COVID19 now forces all of us to fast-track the implementation of these technologies and some of us are “taken by surprise”. The younger, more tech-savvy generation of managers find it a lot easier to adapt.
“Old School Hospitality” isn’t nearly dead, but we need to be creative and adapt it, so that the guests will still see and feel the “human factor” within the hospitality.
Dear Baby Boomer colleagues, even if you are getting closer retirement, I challenge you to embrace the new technologies and find ways to include them in your hospitality operations, adapt them and yourself to the benefit of our mission “organizing that people have a good time”.
I strongly recommend the use of
· Hotelkit, a process and task management tool with enormous functionality
· Code2Order, a BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”= NOT an app!) guest-information tool (pre-stay to post-stay) which includes correspondence and contact-less online check-in etc.
· A CRM system to optimize direct sales and guest satisfaction through personalized guest-contact.
It turns out that COVID-19, which forces us to Social Distancing, reduce face-to-face contact and go online, gives us another opportunity to excel and show what the modern version of “old school” hospitality is really about.
The large chains will have an edge in introducing these technologies due to their financial power and support to the actual hotels and “dictate” new technologies (not always with involvement of those “on the floor”). But it also means they are sometimes sluggish and less fast and flexible in experimenting and implementation. Many independent hotels, especially with owners for whom hospitality is not their core-activity, will struggle in introducing new technologies in these challenging times. But not joining this unstoppable trend will mean losing market share and risking to be part of the future.
There is no way back: Embrace technology!
Disclaimer 1: Forgive me that I have generalized the Baby Boomer generation of hotel managers amongst which there are surely a good number of technology enthusiasts. Your real age is your mindset and in that sense some of us surely stayed young.
Disclaimer 2: I was the first General Manager who implemented Hotelkit in Africa at the Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort and am promoting this wonderful tool as Brand Ambassador. Feel free to contact me for more information..