An open market & education go hand in hand.

Following the release of the latest techtalk.travel interview I wanted to elaborate further on a topic Brendan May and I spoke about in his interview.

That is the importance of an open market and the continuing need for education around technology in the hotel industry.

Historically, and even today to a degree, tech companies have little desire to pro-actively develop integrations with other service providers and their solutions. The preference has been to keep it a closed loop with business models built around charging for the opportunity of integrating. This has also been a contributor to the existing technology fragmentation our industry suffers from.

Due to this fragmentation, start-ups find it difficult to get market traction without having the necessary integrations to a hotels main operating system, primarily the PMS. Building these integrations traditionally has been expensive and time consuming.

With little support of collaboration, this method smothers everything that fosters creativity and innovation. This doesn’t bode well for our industry, it’s old school and doesn’t have a place at the table any longer.

Change is happening.

Noticeably we are seeing a movement embracing the value of working collaboratively, pushing back against the status quo and stone walling that has impeded progressive development in our industry.

We’re seeing a new generation of tech providers committed to breaking the traditional mould by offering innovative products. Willing to share their APIs in open environments, all in an effort to nurture innovation, collaboration and new ideas. Discussed in Brendan’s interview here.

Here in Europe we are seeing alternate ways of conducting industry gatherings that enable opportunity for collaboration. Daniel Zelling’s Hospitality Industry Club, HSMA lead by Lea Jordan, the Swiss Innovation Day headed up by Wilko Weber and Ulli Kastner’s Hotel Technology Forum are all excellent examples of groups who are offering alternative ways of bridging the hotel technology and operational divide. An approach designed to foster co-operation and break down today’s walls.

Keeping the model open

With this new enthusiasm, ensuring past practices are not repeated is important. As the next generation of tech companies develop and grow, so too will their business and revenues. It’s important they always remain open, avoiding temptation to build walls of their own in the future.

The education element.

Education is a key factor across all levels when supporting these initiatives.

  • For the hotelier and hotel owner, being informed on the latest technology and alternative methods of applying new technology to suit a modern hotel environment will help.
  • For the hotel student, education will position them for the future and enable opportunity to maximise these new industry technologies afforded to them.

Whilst technology becomes increasingly pervasive, the lack of (unbiased, non-ad spend influenced) educational content for the hotelier and hotel owners seems to be missing, or at least, missing the mark.

One example is at the build stage of a pre opening hotel project.

Frequently technology is not given the importance is deserves during hotel pre-opening budget planning sessions. It’s something that is often considered a secondary priority by the owners or their representatives and even to a degree, the senior leadership representing the hotel operators.

Regularly we hear our peers discuss how hard it is to get hotel owners to allocate appropriate funds for the required technology to new builds. Generally, most owners and even some hoteliers don’t understand the need or value technology brings to the business.

The long-term impact, often financial, of these poor decisions concerning technology at the early stages of a project and the influence these decisions can have on the ongoing operations of a hotel are often overlooked by owners or their representatives.

Possibly because long term it doesn’t directly affect them, therefore it is not relatable in the same way as perhaps FF&E requirements are.

Unless we are willing to help educate hotel owners, hoteliers and future hoteliers, nothing will change.

This knowledge transfer has very little effect when delivered in board rooms during the planning stages of a project. It’s too late by then. It requires time and has to be, I believe, sourced organically.

They need to find and consume it themselves, at their own pace and in their own time. It can’t be forced upon them.

How can this be done?

It needs to start with thoughtfully curated content, easily consumable whilst supporting no agenda other than informing and educating.

Content that is interesting and to the point. Encouraging the audience (the hotel owner, hotelier and student) to access it on their own terms and regularly return as an interested consumer, keen to see the latest updates when released.

By no means will this educational piece be easy, we may not see this change happen quickly. It’s likely to be more of a slow burn, also seen with generational change.

At techtalk.travel we are passionate and determined to support this change by creating neutral content that can be accessed by all in our industry. We believe the more varied, quality on demand content being distributed, the better for all of us.