As it turns out, hospitality is the latest industry to experience a technology boom. From AI automation to keyless entry, data science to seamless check-in, hoteliers are reportedly looking for tech-minded workers to advance hospitality in the digital age.
As guests increasingly rely on digital channels both for research, booking rooms, and communicating with hotels, said the New York Times, it is becoming essential for the hospitality industry, and specifically hotels, to take on tech experts in various technology fields to manage the growing need for information security, mobile development, and systems integration.
Michael Leidinger, CTO with Hilton Hotels and Resorts, told the New York Times that his department, which manages core technology for the hotel chain like data centers, websites, mobile apps and IT support, had added 140 positions in the past two years.
"If you’re really into technology,” Leidinger was quoted as saying, “there’s a revolution happening in hospitality… you can drive, innovate and take ownership.”
Keyless entry is reportedly one of the latest projects for Hilton’s tech employees. The hotel chain is working to allow guests to use their smartphones to unlock room doors rather than having to carry around plastic cards. Some 750 of Hilton’s 4,800 properties currently offer keyless entry to guests. The company reportedly hopes to install keyless entry in 2,500 hotels by the end of 2017.
The tech trend in hospitality is global. Chinmai Sharma, CRO of India’s Taj hotel group, which operates on four continents, was quoted as saying, “Mobile use in India is going through the roof. Our population is young and we need to meet them on the platform they are using.”
While technology will go a long way to optimize the hospitality industry on all sides, NYT notes the findings from a new report from Skift which indicates that that customer loyalty in the travel industry, despite the proliferation of digital channels, is still largely boosted by meaningful personal (i.e. human) experience.