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McLaren CEO Matthew White shares candid thoughts on current environment as it relates to hotel technology

As hotels plan for the “new normal” in the COVID world much thought is going into the implementation of technology that enables contactless check-in, digital mobile key, digital mobile payment and service ordering. Regardless of your technology ecosystem pre-COVID, it is now necessary and even business and mission critical for hotels embrace new technology. Hotel guests have been looking for new and innovative technology for the past few years and now a health crisis is driving business there. Increasingly travellers are looking to a fully digitalized customer journey from booking to departure. A pre-COVID PWC 2019 study showed 70% of Millennials would rather book a hotel with tech amenities such as digital key and mobile payments.  Travelers are now reliant upon their mobile devices to check-in for a flight, catch a ride, and order from their favourite restaurants. They want to have this same convenience when checking into their hotel

The challenge, however, is how to justify the expense now when the industry is faced with business volumes at crisis levels, an uncertain future and a recovery that may take years. The answer is to look at these technologies through the prism of long-term value rather than a short-term fix to a health crisis. It’s important to not only optimise your existing technology platforms but look at how introducing new solutions will drive your business forward through new revenue streams, enhancing guest experience and delivering operational efficiency and productivity beyond COVID.

Providing new digital guest self-service options including inroom tablets, mobile apps and web based platforms will provide your guests and staff with assurance you have thought about their health and safety whilst also providing new ways to communicate and provide service in a more socially distant environment. Additional forward-looking functions can be implemented along with mobile check-in. incorporating features such as mobile ID authentication and mobile payment allowing guests to have a completely digital,  “Uber-like,” experience with your property and give them the opportunity to engage through the channel they’re more comfortable with. This will in turn facilitate a better understanding of guest expectations and experience, higher levels of service and new opportunities for revenue generation and cost saving.

Matthew White, CEO McLaren Technologies

Article originally appeared in HM Magazine August 2020 edition