Will hoteliers start investing enough in technology in 2023?

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I think two macroeconomic factors are forcing the hospitality industry to accelerate technology adoption and increase technology investment: labor shortages in hospitality and the emergence of new tech-savvy travel consumers. .

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job vacancies in the United States reached nearly 11 million last month, including 1.53 million in hospitality and leisure. Labor shortages are not a problem unique to the hospitality industry. Professional services, retail, transportation, manufacturing, construction and other industries are also affected. Labor shortages in Europe and Asia-Pacific are even more pronounced in many major tourism markets.

What are the solutions ?

Changing the business model, hiring more on-demand workers to do the work, outsourcing and streamlining operations are some of the immediate temporary measures.

In my opinion, there are two ways to deal with acute labor shortages and unsustainable labor costs:

  • Pay: Continue to offer sign-up bonuses, higher salaries, and cash payouts on interviews, making profitability even more elusive, or
  • Invest in technology to solve today’s labor shortages through technological innovations, automation, mobility, robotization and next-generation technology applications. The goal here is to do more with fewer employees using technology solutions.
  • Accelerated investments in technology are also necessitated by extremely tech-savvy customers and their extremely high expectations of technology. Gone are the days when hotels offered “A Home Away From Home” with comparable technological equipment. Unfortunately, many hotels today offer “a home below the home away from home” technology experience.

So, will hoteliers finally start investing properly in technology in 2023?

I believe there are very positive signs that hoteliers are finally waking up to the benefits of technology investments. The recent “2022 Hoteliers Tech Sentiment Report” by Stayntouch and NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality makes it clear that hoteliers are poised to embrace technology in unprecedented ways. This very timely survey clearly shows that hoteliers have learned their lesson and realized that the only way out of the current jobs crisis is to invest in technology to address current labor shortages through innovations, automation, mobile technology, AI, robotization and next generation. technological applications.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 81.7% of all respondents said they had implemented at least one technology during the pandemic and/or planned to implement a new technology in 2022.
  • Adoption of contactless technology, including self-service check-in, in-room technology, mobile keys and digital payments, has increased by 66% during the pandemic and is expected to increase further in 2022.
  • Hotels continue to adopt more automation to improve efficiency, especially as staff sizes remain small.
  • Nearly 75% of respondents believe that contactless technology will become a long-term trend.

The goal for hoteliers in 2023 and beyond is clear: to do more with fewer employees using technology and reduce staffing requirements by a significant percentage from pre-pandemic levels.

Will technology ever replace humans in hospitality? Over time, next-generation technology will undoubtedly replace or collaboratively augment all mundane, repetitive and dangerous jobs in the hospitality industry such as housekeepers, porters and porters, concierges, security guards , line cooks, bartenders, waiters, etc. But technology is not going to replace high-skilled jobs in the hospitality industry all the time, such as seasoned and highly-skilled hotel managers, revenue managers, digital marketers, IT managers, experts CRM, sales managers, etc.

By using AI, automation, robotization, IoT and other next-generation technologies, the hotel can always keep a “human face” but automate all back-end operations, enable intelligent customer communications, and automate and personalize every customer touchpoint. Yes, and add a few humans with a warm smile into the mix.

So how much human labor will a hotel need in the future? In five to 10 years, hoteliers won’t need half the people they needed in 2019, and payroll savings will mean that automation and next-gen technology will pay for themselves.

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