Hospitality has embraced technology in unprecedented ways.
According to the 2022 Hotelier Technology Sentiment Report, released by Stayntouch in partnership with Graduate Students at NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality, hotels are spending more on technology than ever before, with technology spending increasing 31 percent in under two years. Among other things, these findings gathered from a survey of 525 hoteliers between October-November 2021, demonstrate how the current business cycle has increased and accelerated the drive toward innovation and tech adoption industrywide.
Key trends include:
- 81.7 percent of all respondents reported implementing at least one technology during the pandemic, and/or planning to implement new technology during 2022.
- Adoption of contactless technology, including self-service check-in, in-room technology, mobile keys, and digital payments increased by 66 percent during the pandemic and are projected to increase further during 2022.
- Hotels continue to adopt more automation to improve efficiency, particularly as staff sizes remain small.
- Nearly 75 percent of respondents believe that contactless technology will become a long-term trend.
Following the release of the report, tech experts across the industry provided additional insight into the findings, which have been approved for publication
“Over the past year hoteliers tried, unsuccessfully, to deal with acute labor shortages by luring new hires with sign-up bonuses, higher wages or even cash payments to candidates just to show up for an interview. All of this leads only to unsustainable labor costs. Today, there are still 1.73 million open positions in hospitality in the U.S. alone, out of nearly 11 million open positions across the economy. The very timely survey by NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality and StayNTouch PMS clearly shows that hoteliers have learned their lesson and have realized that the only way out of the current labor crisis is by investing in technology to solve the current labor shortages through technology innovations, automation, mobile technology, AI, robotization and next gen technology applications. Hoteliers’ objective is crystal clear: do more with fewer employees by using technology and reduce staffing needs by a significant percentage compared to pre-pandemic levels.”
-Max Starkov, Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant & Strategist
While technology has become steadily more common in hotel operations, we have long had a gut-level debate about ‘high touch’ vs. ‘high tech,’ and a lingering concern that technology distracts from rather than enhancing the guest experience. This well-designed research clearly indicates that the hotel industry’s “technology-hesitancy” is disappearing, in no small part due to the impact of the pandemic on our industry. Our employees have also changed–they too are digital citizens. Our challenge as hoteliers is to embrace the new reality of much-expanded technology presence in our workplace. This research clearly indicates that in 2022 this recognition and embrace is now happening.”
John Burns, President at Hospitality Technology Consulting
“For the last couple of years, I’ve been expressing my theory that COVID-19 has not been a revolutionary event for our industry, rather an evolutionary one. This report seems to prove my point, with an increase in tech adoption by 31 percent in under two years, especially in the fields of contactless payment, self-check-in/out, and conversational marketing. Hospitality needs to understand that, yes, we’re a high-touch industry, but a high-tech one as well. The anthropocentric bias that some hoteliers still have has been proven not only inaccurate, but also dangerous from an entrepreneurial perspective.”
Simone Puorto, Renaissance Futurist, CEO at Travel Singularity
“The pandemic coinciding with the height of the digital age will be considered one of the ‘silver linings’ of the event. Even prior to the pandemic, over 50 percent of hotels already had contactless guest messaging, and nearly 75 percent were gathering online guest surveys. We are proud to have been able to offer solutions that helped hoteliers get through a difficult time. That’s why we are committed to creating solutions that meet the evolving needs of hoteliers.
Valerie Carboni, VP of Marketing at TrustYou
“The rapid increase in tech adoption during the past two years is something Duetto has also witnessed, with new clients often asking to accelerate their onboarding, fully utilizing the low demand periods to get up and running. This, along with the need to automate to help overcome shortages in staff, means the hotel industry will see a continuation of this acceleration in tech adoption in the short to mid-term.”
David Woolenberg, CEO at Duetto
“I was not shocked to read that the contactless guest experience has been more accepted by guests. The pandemic changed the way people view face to face interactions. Because there was so much unknown at the start of the pandemic, in addition to restrictions on gatherings and social distancing, contactless technology like digital keys became a way for travelers and front desk employees to give their guests a contactless experience. I think long after the pandemic risk is reduced, people are going to be more intentional about limiting face-to-face interactions, and contactless experiences will start to be expected by guests.”
Jacob Liggett, VP of Sales and Marketing at OpenKey
IMy main takeaway was the percentage of hoteliers that voted technology as critical to operations (nearly 60 percent) while ‘very important’ was at 30 percent. Our industry has historically had a reputation for being slow to adopt new technologies. I think COVID changed this viewpoint as tech went from being “nice-to-have” and became a “must-have.”
Bob Graham, CEO at EventTemple
“The pandemic has accelerated key trends that were already in motion, including contactless automation and the need to leverage rich, clean and actionable guest data. Guests want a seamless interaction with your hotel, that’s the key. When that happens, guests are happy, loyal, and willing to spend more money on property. Revinate has enabled this through the pandemic for its 10,000 global hotel clients. We’re thrilled to be able to help the industry with these ROI-focused solutions when they are most needed.”
Raj Singh, Chief Marketing Officer at Revinate
“The report highlights how hoteliers have had to adapt to evolving traveler expectations and re-evaluate how their operations are running during the pandemic. When faced with labor shortages and changing customer requirements, lean teams need to be able to operate productively without sacrificing any aspect of the guest experience or causing burnout for team members. At Optii we’ve seen hotels use this time to assess the role of technology in helping to empower teams to do more with less, whether that is adopting new technology or re-evaluating your current tech. Now is the time to move swiftly to find the best possible solution for your property.”
Katherine Grass, CEO at Optii Solutions
The years leading up to the pandemic were rife with discussion about the potential positives and negatives inherent in adding new technology to hospitality, from contactless check-in options to digital communications. Detractors said the technology would hamper a hotel’s ability to deliver high-touch experiences to each guest, and minimize the impact of the front desk as a customer touchpoint. However, the 2022 survey’s results show a growing interest in new technology, as well as new ways of using existing tools.
Research and report conducted by graduate students at NYU Tisch Center of Hospitality:
Chloe Carver, MS Candidate, Global Hospitality Management
Cara Kun, MS Candidate, Global Hospitality Management
Stayntouch provides a full cloud and mobile hotel property management system (PMS) and over 1100+ integrations, enabling hotels to raise service levels, drive revenues, reduce costs, and ultimately captivate their guests. Backed by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry, Stayntouch is a trusted partner to many forward-thinking hotels and resorts, including the TWA Hotel, First Hotels, Conscious Hotels, Margaritaville, Valencia Hotel Group, and Modus Hotels. Stayntouch is also a preferred PMS partner to some of the leading independent hotel collections around the world including; Design Hotels, an Independent Marriott Brand, and Curator Hotel & Resort Collection.