Challenges Faced by Hoteliers in Adopting Cutting-Edge Technology

In the opening chapter of the acclaimed novel “A Man Called Ove” by Frederik Backman, titled “A man called Ove buys a computer that is not a computer,” readers are introduced to the protagonist, Ove, a grumpy and impatient fifty-nine-year-old. Ove visits a tech store with the intention of purchasing a computer but mistakenly asks for an ‘O-Pad’.

The ensuing interaction with a young sales associate becomes increasingly strained as Ove seeks confirmation that the tablet is indeed a good computer, while the associate tries to explain that it depends on Ove’s specific needs.

Ove’s frustration escalates when the associate mentions the need to purchase a separate keyboard and suggests considering a MacBook, amusingly referred to by Ove as a ‘McBook’.

While the scenario mentioned is fictional, it captures a relatable experience not only for older generations grappling with new technology but also for companies striving to keep up with the rapid pace of digital innovation. In today’s world, businesses in every industry face a “paradox of choice” when it comes to adopting new and innovative technologies.

The hospitality industry, being service-based and customer-centric, is no exception. Modern travelers, unlike the character Ove, are tech-savvy and seek hospitality brands that offer exceptional online and offline experiences.

They desire the traditional elements of hospitality but also expect the digital conveniences and efficiencies they are accustomed to in their daily lives.

Furthermore, in terms of operations, hotels must regularly assess their systems and processes to identify areas for improvement, streamline workflows, gather data, and enhance efficiency to address labor challenges.

Consequently, the hospitality industry has experienced a proliferation of platforms, applications, and services that aim to revolutionize the guest experience and provide benefits to both guests and hoteliers.

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Therefore, the crucial question for hotel brands is not whether to adopt digital innovation – as it is an inevitable requirement in today’s market – but rather, which platforms to select. With numerous vendors operating in the hotel tech industry, the challenge lies in making informed decisions.

What are the criteria for evaluating these options, and how can hotel brands prevent the confusion and uncertainty that Ove experienced when he entered the store without a clear understanding of how to find what he needed?

As I prepare for my visit to New York to attend INDIE Cultivate, the upcoming event hosted by the Independent Lodging Congress on July 11th and 12th, I eagerly anticipate the insightful discussions surrounding the challenges and solutions within our industry.

This distinctive conference is dedicated to innovation, investment, and technology adoption in the independent hospitality, travel, and lifestyle sectors. It offers a remarkable opportunity for hoteliers, tech companies, investment bankers, M&A advisors, and venture capitalists to come together in a single, inspiring setting.

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