Modern guests don’t know or care to think about the reasons why you cannot provide guest experiences in the same ways that Uber, Airbnb, HotelTonight and others do.
Quote from Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, in an article on PhocusWire this week.
Digital Darwinism: A concept for modern hotels
That Sabre has enlisted the help of the popular and well-known digital thinker from Altimeter to take a look at hotels says a lot about where the sector is considered to be right now.
Brian Solis has analysed and written about the need for digital transformation in countless industries over the years, so his experience and ideas are generally worth listening to.
Some might argue that the "experience" provided by HotelTonight is not in the same league - in terms of being fundamentally different from the status quo - as the other companies he cites, but his point about a new breed of brands setting expectations far beyond traditional ones with customers is correct.
The basic requirements of the modern, digital traveler range from free Wi-Fi (it now unfathomable that some hotels still do not put such an amenity in the same bracket as clean towels and bedding) to some form of personalized greetings on arrival.
Hotels have the tools in their armory to take such extra steps, yet so many do not... And then, bizarrely, seem affronted when it is pointed out to them that they may be losing the personal touch to services such as Airbnb.
Do hotels need someone like Solis and Sabre telling them this? It would appear so.
But this is where things start getting tricky. General managers of a hotel - especially away from the large chains - have a checklist that they have to get right for every guest visit, often with a delicate balancing act required on the resources side of the operation.
Do they REALLY have the time and money to implement many of the processes (some of them requiring technology) and special touches that Solis argues are needed?
It is commendable that a hotel computer reservation system provider in the shape of Sabre is willing to irk many of those GMs ("oh, yet another plea for us to evolve! I'm just trying to run a hotel here!")
History will eventually show that Sabre and Solis are on the right side of the argument.