Offline is the new poverty – Why hotels have to keep up with the crucial steps of digitalisation
Hamburg – A cheeky interjection of Carsten Hennig, December 2016
2016 was extraordinary; the beginning of 2017 will be even more dramatic. My forecast: A worldwide hacker attack breaks even the toughest OTA. For some days a majority of online bookings plunged. However, tourism is still increasing with reservations via fax, analogue telephone calls and cash payments.
This is why hotels need to be wise and regularly update their listings in “old media,” like telephone books, travel magazines and regional daily newspapers. The pendulum of digitalisation has come full circle to swing even stronger into the other direction in the future. Those, who miss out the crucial steps of digitalisation in 2017, will be completely ‘left behind’. Booking, check-in und opening of the room door via App is offered by Hilton and Marriott as well as Conichi and hotels.com/Expedia already and will become a standard in all business hotels soon. Offline is the new poverty.
Smartphones are not the only important tool and unique identifier for guests. In the hotel of the future, tracking and retrieval of relevant data will be organised via RFID chip: a small sticker with an almost invisible wireless chip on the wrist (already used in logistics and hospitals) ensures unlimited freedom. Room doors and entrances to the spa for example are opening automatically. Orders in restaurants and bars are wirelessly recorded via PMS handheld and directly posted to the guest’s room invoice. Special requests, like an additional pillow or a VIP status, are directly transferred to the employees‘ “Google Glasses”.
Automatic face detection at the hotel entrance as well as RFID data systems inside the hotels will soon be standards. Counterarguments of data privacy activists will be muted because there are substantial advantages for the security and self-determination of the required data.
However, the RFID chips are not sustainable. People thoughtlessly dispose the chips although they should be removed as hazardous waste, as this is just what identity thieves are waiting for. Clever, responsible hotel operators are putting their faith in the promising niche of recycling those wireless chips and profit by becoming more successful hotel entrepreneurs.
On the author: Carsten Hennig, born in 1970, is a keen observer of the top hotel and restaurant sector. As the anchorman of HOTELIER TV & RADIO and as a digital native, he again and again lets his thoughts run free about the future of hospitality. More: https://about.me/carsten.hennig
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