It’s become a tradition at HT that the first issue of the New Year features our editorial advisory board’s projections for tech and business trends in 2013. Adding to their insight, here are HT’s picks for what’s hot, and what’s not hot, in 2013.
Hot: cloud computing. Yes, this one was predictable (ahem, that’s why we chose it), but we see 2013 as a big year for cloud rollouts. For example, nearly half (46%) of hotel executives reveal a marked desire for could-based revenue management solutions (2013 Lodging Technology Study). Restaurant execs, meanwhile, are starting to clamor for cloud-based POS, with 36.2% seeking it out in 2013, compared to just 18.5% one year ago (POS Software Trends 2013). And members of our advisory board agree. Many reveal plans to virtualize a variety of functions and free up resources.
Not: charging for in-room Internet. Okay, I know some upscale properties will want to muzzle me for this, but HSIA is officially becoming a standard, must-have amenity, at least at a basic-access level. With robust guest devices rabidly consuming bandwidth, the cost for in-room WiFi continues to be a challenge. But more and more hotels are also looking at guests’ smartphones and tablets as the ideal way to communicate with them. In fact, hotel IT execs admit that guests’ personal devices could play a significant role in controlling the on-property experience: think television remote, lighting/temperature controls, concierge interaction, gateway to in-room dining, and more, all via the guests’ own device. If the guests’ on-property experiences are to be so intricately tied up in their personal device connectivity, they’ll expect the hotel to provide the backbone, sans an additional fee, to facilitate that communication. A tiered-access model that provides basic access at no charge may prove to be the best approach.
Thanks to our board members for their insights in this year’s “Industry Outlook.” To our valued readers, we welcome your feedback, and your predictions. My email is always open: firstname.lastname@example.org.