The Inevitable Development of Digital Technology in Hotels
Since their arrival, digital technology and the Internet have transformed our ways of life and our ways of consuming, as so often happens with the arrival of such progress. It has been this way, and it remains inevitable. Luxury hotels cannot close their eyes on digital transformations and the importance of smartphones in the lives of their clients. They will have to integrate it into the service. Too few hotels are aware of this, and many simply wait to see what their competition will do. The digital dimension can improve their clients’ experiences within the hotel, from the reception desk all the way to check-out.
New dynamics related to social media have arrived on the market for hotels and are thus responsible for creating a different relationship to luxury hotels. The way in which we consume luxury hotels is evolving. All you have to do is go to Dubai or China to witness this for yourself. This particular clientele, which has become accustomed to this kind of luxury hotel that is more and more present in Paris and in the countryside, is expecting an evolution in hotel selections in France.
A gap can sometimes form between generations, and some older managers remain unaware of the challenges involved in digital technology where their hotels are concerned. And this is no longer a subject restricted to Paris, despite what I have heard from several hotels in the countryside.
They have to ask themselves the right questions because with digital technology comes a host of new challenges that affect the experience of the client throughout his stay. Should hotels continue using reception desks like the ones from 100 years ago, or should they instead completely review their way of receiving clients?
Digitalized check-in at CitizenM Rotterdam
Once the client in his room, should he continue letting himself take the time to understand how the hotel works by reading the hotel guide, or is it better to develop a 100% personalizable app so that the client can take ownership of his room even before his arrival and pass on his wishes for preparing it? Should he still use the telephone on his nightstand with the hotel service staff, or might it not be better to communicate via an app on his smartphone whenever he needs to so that he can communicate with the service staff more easily?
Smartphones are a tool that can allow hotels to develop their clients’ experience throughout their stay and prolong this experience even beyond check-out. There, too, everything remains to be invented by hotels because the technique is there, and it works.
I foresee a likely rupture in luxury hotels that will be positive despite everything. It will allow hotels to differentiate experiences for clients. That’s what the clients say, at least; it’s more and more important for them to know what experience they can enjoy when going to such and such hotel. The more differences there are, the better off clients will be in choosing the hotel that corresponds to them the most. There will thus be hotels that will go digital, just as there will be those that will remain timeless. These latter ones might be able to hold onto the clientele for now, but they’ll have trouble over the years in renewing their clientele.
About Laurent Delporte
Inspired by the service experience of luxury hotels, Laurent Delporte, expert in luxury hotels and the French art of welcoming, unearths the latest trends and consults on hotel projects while delivering the best of what is done. His insatiable curiosity, transversal perspective, and keen eye for luxury hotels, as well as his network of experts, investors, hotel managers, and talents, remain his strongest assets. In partnership with the architecture agency AW2, he designed for the Equip’Hotel salon the hotel room of the future.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.