While seamless online check-in and keyless room entry represent cutting-edge hotel technology, hotels could do more to improve pre-trip communication for business travelers, notes the Global Business Travel Association in a new white paper. The qualitative report, Harnessing Technology to Improve Business Traveler Hotel Experiences, was sponsored by AccorHotels. The GBTA Foundation publication is based on nine in-depth, one-on-one telephone interviews with travel managers residing and working in North America; results and conclusions are not meant to reflect the attitudes of the entire North American travel-manager population.
The purpose of the study was to identify the technology most commonly used by business travelers for booking, arriving and staying at hotels; to find any gaps that exist in the business traveler's hotel experience, and to determine what technology might be used to improve the process. "With the cries for Wi-Fi heard and answered, hotels can and should turn their attention and resources to addressing a number of areas where technology can play an innovative role in providing business travelers with the tools and amenities they crave," said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation vice president of research.
In addition to check-in and room entry, other areas of technology excitement include the development of a text- or app-based concierge service, as well as the integration of e-folios into expense-reporting software. When it comes to areas of improvement, hotels could do a better job tailoring pre-trip communication, via email and/or text, specifically to business travelers. Other opportunities for improvement include technology around the use of airport shuttle services, and the exchange of information between hotels and global distribution systems.
Carefully explaining any new technology to guests is of the utmost importance, the study concludes. For new technology to catch on, that presentation, as well as the execution and support, are essential. If the new tool doesn't deliver at first, it may be difficult to sell it to guests again in the future, the paper concludes. GBTA members can download the entire paper from hub.gbta.org; nonmembers can purchase the study by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org