empty hotel reception possibly reflecting how well intended technology leads to broken experiences

The latest hype is about artificial intelligence and how it will impact our lives, specifically in the hospitality industry.

NB: This is an article from Knowland

It is a bit like the golden Labrador syndrome, where we all run to get the tennis ball, get distracted by a squirrel, and forget what we were doing. Don’t get me wrong, AI and ChatGPT are pretty cool but can also be disruptive in many areas. That said, the fact is that we are not great at using today’s (let alone yesterday’s) technology to improve and enhance experiences.

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Yes, we have great ideas, but are those ideas really delivered consistently in the field?

Observations from a Road Warrior’s Perspective

Since the beginning of the year, I have had more than 10 separate hotel stays accounting for nearly 30 room nights. These stays were across five brands, three major chains and one independent property. With the exception of one stay, technology failed and became a point of friction instead of an enabler.

Oddly enough, or perhaps not odd at all, I remember these experiences enough to document them here. If I remember them as a business traveler, imagine how the leisure traveler looking to relax and recharge will respond via social media, rating websites or worse. Then consider the more intrepid traveler shooting off a rant email to the executive office of the brand, owner or asset management firm.

Without naming names, as the challenge seemed symptomatic of a broader industry issue, the following are a few of the things I encountered.

What Went Wrong

Mobile check-in issues:

  • The brand.com site was unavailable to book a reservation, so I booked through an OTA. When I got to the hotel, the hotel claimed I did not have a reservation, even after showing the clerk the reservation on my mobile device.
  • Mobile check-in didn’t work due to technical issues.
  • Able to use mobile check-in, but when I got to the hotel, I was told they do not honor mobile check-in and I needed to “check-in for real” with a “real person.”
  • The mobile key only worked on the room door, and I needed to use a key card for elevator and fitness-room access.

Read rest of the article at Knowland