Hotels must retain the personal touch while embracing technology

Hotels must do more to adopt cutting-edge technology which meets customer demand but be careful not to lose the human touch, according to a new report.

The hotel industry has fallen behind other sectors in adopting user-friendly systems that boost accessibility such as mobile technology and needs to address this if it is to compete with new accommodation providers such as AirBnB, research by Grant Thornton concluded.

However, the report warned hotels must balance any technological overhauls with maintaining a human and personal service.

Technology should be developed to ensure ease of use for customers many of whom now wish to research, book and communicate with hotels via mobile devices online. The technology and big data can then be used to personalise the services for specific guest requirements.

Millennials and tourists from emerging economies look set to dominate future bookings and will expect tailored services that break down language and cultural barriers, whilst still offering an authentic, personal touch, the researchers claimed.

Gillian Saunders, global leader for hospitality and tourism at Grant Thornton, said: “It’s all about striking the right balance between apps and technology, as well as human interaction, which is still hugely valued. Get it wrong and you risk alienating your customers. Get it right and you can reap the rewards.”

Avon Data’s hotel management software can help hotels develop strong online presences as well as providing data and analysis that allow hotel managers to personalise their communications and services for guests.

Sarah Cade, Managing Director at Avon Data, said: “Hotels need to work hard to ensure they keep pace with advancing technology as more and more of their potential guests expect this. An effective hotel management system like ours will help them achieve the level of service required.”