The Future of Technology in Hospitality

Posted on
October 14, 2018

If we follow Moore's Law for the exponential scale at which technology grows, we can be sure that much will change in the next ten years, and hospitality, for better or worse, will certainly be hugely impacted by that. While the industry is often maligned as slow to evolve or to take advantage of what current tech solutions have to offer, times are changing. We here are Shiji aim to be ahead of that curve, and as such, to enable the hospitality industry to better serve and understand their customers through a flatter, clearer, more connected and more actionable information platform. Below, you'll find some of our top predictions for the ways in which technology will change in the hospitality industry in the coming years.

The World is Flat

The world of data across industries is only getting more flat, and this absolutely includes hospitality data. The hotel, catering, and retail industries especially will become more and more integrated, both online and off in the next ten years. In fact, the entire supply chain from producers to consumers will be much more flat than it is today. The good news is that this will not only allow for a better, faster consumer experience but a larger and cleaner pool of data with which to better understand and serve customers.

Connectivity and Big Data are within Grasp

Strategic alliances should not only facilitate servicing of hotels’ operations but also pave way for actionable data via connectivity among various systems. Think about it. With all the systems we have in the average hotel today and all the information we have access to, we are able to provide data in a way whereby hotels and even the industry at large would have the ability to act on actionable, real data. Importantly, this would feature data about what guests are thinking prior to the stay, during the stay and after the stay. Access to such data is vital as the modern data platform isn’t just about predictive information based upon what happened in the past. Instead, it is time hotels look beyond historical data to better understand and optimize occupancy, average room rate, et cetera.

Past, Present, and Future

Listening to customers is a must now. If you look at different pieces of data — reservation of the guest, pre-arrival period, stay including commenting and sharing on TripAdvisor, WeChat, Facebook, and then post stay period — there is now a socialization of the travel experience. Because of this longer tailed, real-time modern traveler's journey, there is a need as businesses to make the most of the data that is actionable for what is happening now. As long as the guest's decision-making is happening within connected systems, (for example, hopping on to different devices for shopping for a room or when the guest's stay is over or engages their loyalty program) the guest can be tracked. You can, therefore, understand how to provide a service to them. This way a hotel can identify and work on their services, offer better value, and define a price and rate around that information.

Chinese Luxury Hotels Remain Strong

In 2003, the Chinese domestic hotel industry was in the depth of a deep depression with an occupancy rate often less than 20%. Many, including the global hotel management software giant, MICROS-FIDELIO, believed that China's high-end hotels wouldn't last the next two years. However, the market recovered in 2004 and opened up to a rapid growth rate of more than 50%. We believe the sector will continue to have strong demand for the next decade as leisure and basic business travel spreads in the country.

It Starts at the Hotel Level

The last decade has seen the hotel industry following trends in other sectors by moving from buying suites of software products for specific functions to using a foundational software infrastructure that supports multiple functions and encourages third-party integrations. A platform approach just simply allows for a smoother exchange of more data. Unfortunately, issues of antiquated systems that don’t always communicate seamlessly with each other stem from the fact that hotel ownership remains very fragmented and service-focused. There is also a general complacency, with the general mentality being that the legacy systems work just fine. This mentality is holding the hospitality industry back in its ability to understand and serve guests, ultimately because guest data is fragmented and poorly managed. 

If we as hoteliers want to keep with the times, better serve and understand our guests, and not to mention, have access to full, empowering data, we need to streamline our hospitality technology solutions and be ready forthe future, because it's happening now.