Successful implementation of technology depends on setting clear goals and finding the right systems for the job for the specific property. Read on for helpful ROI insights from three industry experts — an owner, an operator and a brand executive. 


When it comes to balancing the cost of investing in new technology with potential benefits, Tommy Holmes, principal, asset management, at Witness Investment, believes in conducting a soft launch with a small portfolio of hotels.

“Troubleshooting and perfecting the tech with two to three hotels first makes for a more seamless rollout. If the tech shows its intended value, then further integration takes place and we have performance data to show the [return on investment] from our soft launch,” he said.

Finding technology that offers owners and investors the ability to interface with multiple brand systems is a key, Holmes added. He advocates for a “one-stop shop” system that provides real-time data and identifies areas of opportunity for an asset or market’s future, mentioning machine learning could be helpful here. “There is a perception that new systems and tech requires additional work, but if the right technology is selected then it’s a value for the team because the system becomes a useful tool and not additional work,” Holmes said.

Holmes is particularly excited about two promising technologies. The first is a business intelligence tool that allows operators and owners to evaluate performance metrics of a specific asset or market in order to make strategic decisions. The second is a platform that incorporates day-to-day responsibilities and tasks in a hotel, providing an overall “scorecard” for operational processes, including guest interactions, preventative maintenance, inventory management and major mechanical tracking. This type of system can extend the life expectancy of major mechanical systems and the building.

For hoteliers looking to speed up tech adoption, Holmes advises them to “look for a platform that provides the [key performance indicators] for the totality of the asset rather than adding multiple technology stacks, which impacts the efficiency that you expect from having technology.” 


David Rosenberg, SVP of operations at Hotel Equities, said economies of scale matter more than ever when adopting new technology. “The hospitality industry has been built on personal relationships, strategic partnerships, high-touch customer service and local market culture and focus,” he said. “Hotel owners need to focus on large-scale purchasing efficiencies that allow dedicated teams to remain high touch and focus resources [on] where they’re needed most. As a hotel portfolio grows, so should its support team’s infrastructure by taking advantage of technology that is intuitive and easy to access.”

When considering whether to invest in new technology, Rosenberg evaluates current legacy systems and their functionality across all properties. He also explores whether new technology platforms and solutions could create efficiencies and improve functionality for his teams. He said one of the most promising technologies that hotels should be adopting right now is a thoughtful business intelligence tool. Additionally, Rosenberg said hotels need to leverage a scalable, hospitality-friendly accounting platform. These tools can help on-property teams make real-time decisions and give hotel owners, management teams and GMs precise snapshots of performance across multiple properties, improving efficiency and driving financial decisions.

To measure the success of technology adoption, Rosenberg focuses on whether it improves access and functionality for teams and saves time. “There will always be additional work necessary on the front end, but adapting new tech should give more time back to your associates and generate efficiencies for them,” he said. He also emphasizes the importance of following up with teams to keep a pulse on the implementation process and ensure the intended goals are achieved.


One of the biggest challenges of adopting new technology in the hotel industry Shawn Cryan, SVP of corporate strategy & innovation at Sonesta International Hotels Corp., sees is ensuring there’s enough time for planning and training to ensure successful execution. Because hospitality is a 24-hour business, he said that rollouts must be done with care to mitigate the impact to guests and team members.

That’s why the first question Cryan asks when it comes to adopting new technology is, “How is this going to improve our guest and associate experience?” From there, the team evaluates cost and time to implement—two variables that Cryan said are used to determine priority within the overall portfolio of projects in the works throughout the brand.

In Cryan’s opinion, the most promising technologies hotels should be adopting right now include texting technologies, robots for in-room dining and amenities delivery, and secure, easy-to-use mobile keys. He believes these technologies have the potential to “improve our ability to communicate and provide service to guests while also relieving the burden on our associates.”

To measure the success of technology adoption within a hotel, Cryan focuses on guest and team adoption with minimal friction in the user experience. He emphasizes the importance of change management. “Getting that right results in our associates feeling prepared and provides an enhanced service level for guests,” he said.

At the end of the day, Cryan advises hoteliers to ensure any new technology is filling a need because this is the quickest way to achieve adoption. He warns against adopting technology for the sake of technology, or without a thoughtful plan for usage because this can lead to a higher probability of failure and distraction from the core business.