2020 is the Chinese Year of the Rat—the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived at his party. The rat tricked the ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the palace, the rat jumped down and entered ahead of the ox, becoming first. The rat also represents the beginning of a new day. In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children.
With such an auspicious zodiac animal to rely on in 2020, hoteliers are in good shape to design a hotel technology solution that will reduce operating costs, improve staff productivity and have guests writing rave online reviews that lead to increased occupancy and average daily rate. But beware the four horsemen of reasons that kill technology initiatives, derail productive change and sideline efforts to evolve hotel operations through innovative technology introduction.
1. Lack of Clarity
Any successful hotel tech initiative relies on a specific understanding of what the new technology does and what benefits it will bring to the organization. A lack of clarity leads to a lack of understanding and it’s hard to gain support for an initiative when the reasons for doing it are unclear and misunderstood.
Solve for this by creating and sharing a technology overview that outlines the purpose and impact of any new hotel technology to get everyone on the same page and generate support.
2. Lack of Commitment
New hotel technology is an agent of change, and change requires commitment from all levels within an organization to succeed. Hotels traditionally are slow to adopt new technology, so cultures of innovation are rare. Any new hotel tech initiative needs to be discussed all the way across the organization to ensure the various stakeholders won’t decide to blow it up as soon as the time comes to give their seal of approval.
Being thorough is key here: Actively seek out the naysayers before too much time and effort is spent in building a case for a new technology purchase.
3. Lack of Focus
Everyone is busy. Often too busy. Projects pile on top of projects at the beginning of the year and it’s easy to lose focus on those that can really make a difference in favor of those that are easy and/or quick to achieve. Almost by definition any new technology that will make a meaningful difference in revenue for a hotel will be somewhat complicated and require a focus of time and energy to effectively integrate. Often the need to meet immediate revenue goals causes hoteliers to adopt a very short-term mindset with respect to new initiatives, which can turn distraction into a daily routine.
Solve this by scheduling a specific time each day or week to focus on a new technology initiative and socialize an implementation schedule to gain support.
4. Lack of Confidence
New hotel technology initiatives are not for the meek of heart. Any suggestion of change within an organization can foster resistance. Having (and projecting) a sense of confidence in the purpose and impact of new hotel technology is a critical element for success. Confidence is a product of understanding, focus and commitment. When stakeholders sense a lack of confidence in the technology solution by the project owner, the initiative is dead.
Solve this by routine communication about the status of the tech project and open Q&A sessions to help others in the company gain a sense of confidence in the outcomes and impact the solution will have in their areas.
According to Chinese astrology, 2020 is going to be a strong, prosperous and lucky year. Everyone will show determination regarding their goals and aspirations and this will be a great year for founding and evolving. Those who plan to invest money in a long-term project have great chances of being satisfied in the future.
The U.S. economy continues to hold strong and overall strength in consumer spending and confidence remains high—driving gains in hotel demand. 2020 looks like the perfect year to take action on new hotel technology projects and guests stand to benefit as a result.
Brian Shedd is chief sales and marketing officer for OpenKey, a mobile key technology company.