Hotels Adapting Technology to Generational Preferences

The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research “For Tech’s Sake! Building Customer Loyalty via Generational Preferences” roundtable session focused on key learnings hotels can leverage by understanding the technology “preference gap” among multiple generations.

After providing statistics regarding decision making influences and demographic preferences,  Josh Weiss, vice president of Guest Technology Innovation at Hilton Hotels, said “We must be deliberate and thoughtful in how we design, deliver and support technology that stays relevant and intuitive fo all of our guests across generations.”

Mark McCarthy is a Senior Lecturer Cornell School for Hospitality Administration. Photo Credit: Cornell University.

Mark McCarthy is a Senior Lecturer Cornell School for Hospitality Administration. Photo Credit: Cornell University.

For example, Cornell’s Senior Lecturer of Information Systems Mark McCarthy asked the audience “how many people expect to use a phone to unlock a hotel room?” He then provided findings from his own research that showed that 55% of people polled don’t expect this capability. The difference in what technology guests want can be seen in their demand for internet access. Guests expect easy reliable wi-fi access in hotel rooms, but fewer expect such access on planes.

In other words: technology for technology’s sake isn’t a sound strategy for hotels. “Such investments degrade the customer experience rather than enhance it,” the panelists said.

More than two dozen industry leaders, along with researchers and students met for the second annual Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable hosted by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The April 2016 event covered a range of discussions including cloud computing’s impact on consumers’ ability to influence brands, social media’s connectivity between businesses and their customers, the role of generational preferences, customizing technology, and the challenges of adapting to the constantly changing environment.

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