Four point check-list to take hotels into the hyper-connected worldNews / TechnologyBy Kevin May | August 5, 2015Share This article was originally published on It is apparently not just the preserve of small, independent hotels that are trying to capture the attention of tech-savvy guests.Until very recently, many believed the giant chains of the hospitality world were held back by their size or lack of understanding of the mobile connected of the modern traveller.Leave the cool, techie stuff to those with the ability to innovate quickly - at least that was the perception.In a briefing from the consulting arm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, bosses of Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide are trying to show off their digital credentials but acknowledge that digital adoption has its challenges.Hilton had to rebuild its back-end systems to operate the company the way wanted to, Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta admits, but as a result it is "able to create a platform that also allowed us to innovate at scale in ways that wouldn't have been able to".He adds: "If we didn’t rebuild it, would what we’re doing now be as easy? The answer is no. We would be like others, where we’d have more of a patchwork quilt of back-end systems."Share this quote Arne Sorenson, president and CEO at Marriott, says the chain used to have the attitude that the only technology useful to the guest was the television or entertainment system in a room. “Increasingly, it is how we use that technology to communicate with our guests when they’re in the hotel. "How do we use the technology to service them, whether it’s ordering room service, special pillows for their beds, getting something delivered by the pool, marketing to them, resolving their complaints before they’ve left the hotel. "All of those things create a need for technology, which is much more significant than what we’ve had in the past."Share this quote So what do the beancounters at PWC propose hotels should do to get themselves up to speed with all this?The organisation has produced a four-point plan for owners to consider, using a combination of techniques and technology:1) Deepen their knowledge of customer preferencesHotel can do this by tracking guests during every touch point - from the moment they plan a visit, throughout their stay on a property, and until checkout. Based on that data, offer incentives for future visits such as a rebate for a particular service or discounted room rates at certain times of year.2) Tap in real-time into guest preferencesThis is achieved whilst a guest is actually at a property, to enable more efficient, personalized operations. For example, hotels can anticipate their guests’ drink preferences or provide extra bed linens, based on previous behavior and selections.3) Combine social listening with customer-tracking dataOpen networks allow brands to understand more about their customers before, during, and after their stay. Social media offers deep insights into customer behavior - from the minute a customer thinks about travel and asks for recommendations on social media, to his or her comments and photographs on social media both during and after the stay.4) Address privacy and security issues of concern to customersAlmost 75% of consumers are willing to share some personal information if they get something in return, such as personalized, location-specific information on restaurants, theaters, shops, and cultural events. However, they also need assurance about how their information will be used.The report's authors sum up the opportunities as follows: "The new generation of traveler expects increasingly personalized experiences via mobile devices. Technology offers that personalization by providing a timely, convenient bridge to augment communication between people - both associates and guests. "Brands that provide a consistently superior experience by leveraging their guests’ mobile connectivity are not only able to remain relevant, they can also strengthen guest loyalty, motivate return visits, increase average daily rate (ADR), and drive incremental hotel revenue."Share this quote NB:Hotels mobile guests image via Shutterstock.