When we talk about the hospitality industry, the role of technology remains controversial.

On one hand, technology enhances processes by making them more efficient and it lowers the overall costs related to operations in the long run. On the other, it creates a barrier for human interaction and service personalization.

As a company in the hotel business, the question comes up naturally “Shall we then invest in technology?” Well, it depends. What else did you invest in so far?

While having a plug for smartphones and Wi-Fi connection has become an essential need (especially for the Millennials and consequent generations), more advanced technologies such as smart objects or robots are far to be what makes or breaks a company reputation in the eyes of our guests, neither what makes them loyal to you.

Thus, before thinking about investing in the latest technologies, evaluate the following:

Your employees

Our employees are and will always be our competitive advantage. Processes, technologies and innovative solutions can be copied in a matter of days. What no one can copy from you is your employees’ attitude, their personalities, their passion and ability of providing lasting memories and emotions to customers. As such, investing in your people is by far more important than investing in technology.

Train your employees and help them improve, reward them and make them feel appreciated for their job.

Your guest journey

A guest’s journey has different points of interaction and as hoteliers we can’t afford to disregard any of these.

Exceeding customers’ expectations in a single touchpoint is not what makes an experience positive and a guest loyal to your brand. Instead, a guest will come back if he or she is overall satisfied throughout the entire journey.

Focus on each touchpoint and if things go wrong, follow-up, receive feedback and concentrate on service recovery.

Your reputation

What your customers think about your products and services might not always correspond to what you perceive. However, their opinion is still what makes the difference in your profit margins.

How your current guests feel when they leave your hotel plays a huge role in your reputation, and it can potentially prevent you from capturing additional business.

The traditional word of mouth has been substituted by an electronic word of mouth. Until few years ago, a bad or positive experience was only shared orally with family and friends. Today, we also write reviews and make our voices heard on social media, where we have a much broader audience and where our opinion has a much bigger impact.

Make sure your on/offline reputation is under control. Aim to be at the top of your competition. And if you are not, analyse what went wrong and define critical points of improvement.

LHC Paola Bellia

Paola Bellia Associate at Lausanne Hospitality Consulting SA

An alumna of the École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), Paola joined LHC as Associate upon completion of the Bachelor degree in International Hospitality Management. Her role involves supporting the development of hospitality learning centers and the delivery of executive education courses and consulting activities.

Her career started in 2008 and ever since she has gained extensive experience in the Food & Beverage industry, holding both managerial and non-managerial positions in Italy, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Entrepreneur at heart and extremely passionate about innovation, Paola has also worked in other sectors including Information Technology, Marketing and Healthcare.

Currently fulfilling her dream of learning Spanish, she speaks Italian, English and French.

When not at work, Paola spends most of her time cooking, reading and practicing kick-boxing. She is also extremely attached to her family and friends back home and every day devotes some time to get updated on their lives.