HB ON THE SCENE: How New Innovations Are Shaping Modern Brands

DENVER—When done right, technology can be
 a great way for owners, operators and brands to make their guests’ stays the best they can be. But there are many pitfalls that can keep that technology from being flawless, frictionless and seamless.

Held here at RLH Corporation headquarters, the Hotel Business Executive Roundtable “Tech Legacy: How new innovations are shaping modern brands” allowed 12 industry executives to share their varying opinions on the topic. The roundtable was hosted and sponsored by RLH Corporation with supporting sponsorship by Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Real Estate and Hospitality Services.

“I am not a fan of technology for technology’s sake,” said Mike Cahill, founder & CEO of HREC. “From a real estate perspective, I am excited about technology that will help compensate for real problems, such as labor, and be able to compensate for that to counteract the lack of labor supply, and really use technology to move profitability… The big thing for the industry is if it will help [with]labor cost.”

Technology should also focus on improving the guest experience. “If we don’t spend our energies there, it won’t have a good result; so long as all of the stakeholders involved keep thinking in terms of making that guest stay better, more efficient and seamless, good things are going to happen,” said Brian Fry, president of Commonwealth Hotels LLC. “I think that is the good news—technology works in our favor, staying flexible and nimble. That is going to be the way we are going to be able to continue to grow.”

For Joseph Bojanowski, president of PM Hotel Group, it is important for hoteliers to know when to bring in the experts when it comes to technology. “What I know is that we are developers and we are pretty good at building hotels; we are operators, and we are pretty good at operating hotels,” he said. “We are not technology experts. Hire a consultant when you are making a big decision. Things move fast and they are complicated decisions.”

Look for more insights from panelists, including their thoughts on technology infrastructure, planning for the future and the loss of human guest touchpoints in the June 7 issue of Hotel Business.