According to one well known dictionary, the definition of Hospitality is:
‘The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers’.
This in a nutshell is what the hotel industry is all about, the welcome, the service, the food, the facilities, the atmosphere, the creation of memories and of course, the value for money. With the advent of instant review sites evolving from the original model back in the late 20th Century– ‘Trip Advisor’, customer feedback can now make or break a business. Never has it been more important to be on top of your game, to ensure expectations are met, fail to do this and both you and the entire world around you will instantly know about it!
We may now have hotel technology to take care of much of our guest needs, remote check in and billing, each guests breakfast order sent and prepared ahead of their arrival via in-room personal devices, front desks replaced by self-service information portals, the ability to hold a virtual reality morning team brief with the office whilst brushing your teeth, bedroom televisions long replaced by interactive media hubs, touch button beds with multiple mattress and pillow options, voice controlled curtains, but amongst all this madness, the one consistent remains, Humans.
This is an industry that was forced in the early 21st century to begin moving with the times. Our increasingly savvy customers would no longer tolerate anything less than the creature comforts and technologies they have at home.
Anyone remember the good old days when hotels actually had the audacity to charge for low bandwidth Wi-Fi?!. Now its super-fast dedicated individual access points, not communal lobby’s with 1-hour access, credit card requirements and the speed of dial up!
But still, the most important thing we must provide is the human interaction. What use is tech when it dares to fail, or you just need someone to ask for help? What use a breakfast delivered by a faceless robot if you want your coffee just a little stronger or your morning boiled egg a tiny bit more well done? Does the front-desk information portal understand the precise directional options to Laxey Wheel in the rain whilst recommending a good stop off for a light-lunch?
A time-served Concierge providing a map, an umbrella and local information anyone?
So, move with the times, you have no choice, upgrade to an entirely wireless infrastructure, reduce your carbon footprint and landfill guilt by removing those pesky miniature plastic toiletries, offer an extensive vegan menu, accept every guest request possible via a screen, recycle everything within an inch of its life, but always remember the welcome, the farewell and ultimately what Hospitality is all about - The Human Touch!
As someone clearly very clever once said, ‘We’re here for a good time, not a long time’!