Greetings from HITEC

Tara Peterson

Technology suited for the Hospitality Industry is always one of two things: Exciting and terrifying. Exciting in that it gives you the tools to manage less, reach new markets, optimize operations, and more. However technology that’s either too new or doesn’t take operational intricacies into consideration can not only be confusing, but a seemingly large waste of money. Balancing all the different tools at our disposal and equipping our hotels with the best ones is one of IDM’s chief goals, so naturally, we’re always eager to attend conferences that keep us up to speed on all the new features and programs. This year, I was fortunate enough to return to the fantastic city of New Orleans and see what today’s Tech space is about. I came out with two major takeaways:

The first is that many vendors that attended the conference have put a strong focus on connectivity. In the year 2016, where Teslas and 3D printing are starting to become old news, this seems like an obvious direction. However, this perspective seems especially focused on creating a bridge between the guest’s experience and the guest’s own day-to-day technology, whether that be connecting to their cell phone or seamlessly streaming their personal Netflix account. The connectivity that seemed the most promising to me kept that goal in mind: Find a way to easily integrate into the user habits the general populous has already formed. It’s not enough to simply solve a problem of convenience and technology for the sake of technology, like another app download, from my perspective, won’t last long.

Additionally, the companies that have been in the hotel tech scene for some time seem to be doing one of two things: Expanding or perfecting. By that, I mean many companies are trying to expand, making their product more relevant by providing additional features or information that might be marginally useful, but aren’t all encompassing or duplicate information you already have. Unfortunately, these features seem more like caveats, because certain companies lack the ability to make these features truly  perform well (Similar, I feel, to a magazine representative trying to convince you they’re be able to manage a really successful pay-per-click campaign for your business). Should a telephone also function like a PMS? No. Is there a good idea somewhere in that product that could be reimagined to create real convenience and value? Yep. They’re just not there yet. In contrast, many other companies are perfecting what they’re doing and using technology to be the very best at it. Companies that stay true to their mission, whether that be keeping doors and people secure as possible or give you the most relevant data about your guests, these companies seem to have a much brighter future than tech companies who’s focus is simply convince or “having it all”. Regardless, it’s certainly an interesting time for hospitality tech, seeing who stays afloat over the next year should be equally so.