To leverage technology to its greatest potential in the hospitality sector will require thought leaders who are open to seeing it from a different point of view.
Ask any hospitality executive about technology and their thoughts are likely to jump to distribution, sales and marketing, automation and organizational effectiveness. Our sector has done well in using technology to improve processes and to achieve greater efficiencies. In short, we have succeeded in effectively applying technology for, predominantly, transactional purposes. But there is so much more that could be done.
Arguably, technology and innovation have the potential to truly transform the sector—to strengthen the positioning of “traditional” players (the providers of the actual service and the creators of the actual hospitality experience, on the floor of a restaurant, or in the lobby and the guestrooms of a hotel, for example).
To achieve this, we need to cease the rigid thinking and obsession with automation. Technology should not be regarded as a lifeless software of ones and zeros. Instead, it should be applied to facilitate change, to provide true personalization of products and services, and to help engage with customers and transform them via experiences.
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