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By Benson Brown President, Zylog | March 14, 2019

I travel frequently throughout the country for both business and pleasure. At every hotel, the rooms get smarter and smarter with each visit. Just a short time ago, free, fast Wi-Fi was considered a must for the digital age. Now, the digital boundaries seem to be endless.

From smart speakers like Alexa, to digital check-in capabilities, smart TVs and even robots, hotels are implementing new technology to meet guests where they want to be met. Guests want the comforts of home while on the road and for many, that means the smart devices they've grown accustomed to. Almost one-fifth of U.S. households with Wi-Fi (19 million households) had one smart speaker or more in 2018, according to Forbes. In light of this growing trend, more and more hotels are providing smart technology in guest rooms.

In fact, last spring, Amazon unveiled a new Alexa program devised specifically for hotels. According to Tech Crunch, Alexa for Hospitality is designed to optimize a hotel guest experience by providing Echo smart speakers that can be programmed to include guest check out times or pool hours, allow guests to order from housekeeping or room service, or adjust the temperature and lights in the room, among other things. Amazon partnered with Marriott International, Inc. for the initiative and the hotel giant has launched the service in select hotels around the world.

All this technology may present guests with more conveniences and, for many, some of the comforts of home, but what risk exposures does this smart technology present in terms of guest privacy? Each time they connect a smartphone to a hotel device are they putting their personal information at risk? Considering the risks before implementing these new smart features in a hotel is critical and something hotel owners and operators must understand before implementing smart technology for guests.

Mr. Brown Hotel and resorts are jumping on the gig economy bandwagon, satisfying their short-term employment needs by (literally) tapping into the ever-growing pool of freelance hospitality workers available via app or online. But as more and more hoteliers avail themselves to the flexibility and considerable costs savings that are part and parcel to the on-demand staffing model, they are wading into potentially perilous waters, with legal and reputational issues lurking just below the surface. Here, a light is shined on would-be problems inherent in the gig economy that management should be mindful Benson Brown can be contacted at 123.333.2222 or benson_r28@yahoo.com Please visit http://www.google.com for more information. Extended Biography

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.