Looking at the results of Hospitality Technology's recent readership survey, I'm reminded of Punxsutawney Phil, the venerable Pennsylvania woodchuck who cautiously emerges from an underground hole to determine if the bleakness of winter is over (or not). It seems that hotel and restaurant operators are slowly emerging from their war torn holes in hopes that the recession of 2009, and any aftershocks, are behind them.
For the past year, most businesses were forced to operate in survival mode, cutting back internal resources and seeking out every possible avenue to preserve capital. This focus on internal operations forced many hospitality operators to significantly reduce, if not altogether abandon, external marketing and customer engagement efforts. According to the results of HT's readership poll, the shadow has begun to lift: more than 70% of respondents tell us that they are again turning their focus to external initiatives. Some are actively looking for ways to attract more customers, and are leveraging innovative social media campaigns and mobile phone communication to do so. Other hotels and restaurants are looking to break ground on new revenue-generating opportunities.
From a technology development side, these efforts are translating into a proliferation of applications for consumers' mobile phones and handheld devices, enabling everything from ordering pizza to finding the nearest vacant hotel room. We're also starting to see an uptick in interest in self-service technology for its ability to offer guests choice and control, while also creating operational efficiency.
The complete results of our readership poll are shared in this month's cover story, Industry Outlook 2010. Overall, the results are promising and show an industry that is in recovery and slowly gaining ground, no longer afraid of its shadow.