“Hoteliers are looking to educate themselves and learn to better market to travelers on the go,” said Kim, whose study included dozens of directors and GMs. She found that hoteliers support using mobile technology to increase employee productivity and cost reduction.
Kim’s study also found that hoteliers expect a mobile device to be at least iPhone-sized with a touch screen and the ability to interface with a hotel’s property-management system.
Specific operational applications of technology included allowing engineers to remotely keep track of hotel systems, control energy use remotely and support employee multitasking while reminding them of pending tasks.
After Kim showed her survey, a panel discussion took place discussing the merits and limitations of hoteliers relying on mobile technology.
“Mobility is death by a thousand cuts,” said Alan Dabbiere of Airwatch, which manages guest wireless for more than ten thousand locations, referring to the complexity of upgrading a hotel’s infrastructure to utilize the latest mobile technology. “I think we have Steve Jobs to thank or blame for some of this. It wasn’t until he consumerized it and made it sexy, and now people are becoming very personal about their mobility.”
Sukhvinder Singh, VP of IT for Host Hotels, talked at length about the difficulties hoteliers face in updated outdated hotel infrastructure in hotels with older builds.
“There’s been a paradigm shift in hospitality–we lag behind in technology, we do walls twice and carpets four times before we do technology,” said Singh. “People should appreciate we are now looking at next wave of technology since hotels have not paid attention to infrastructure for last 20 years.