Ted's Technology Summit

Innovating Hospitality

Navigating Digital Landscape in 2024 and Beyond

Industry Updates

Is the future a video desk clerk or a video concierge at your front desk?

Ted Horner

One of the great frustrations of my staying at hotels over the last 30 years is the need to stand in line at the front desk to check in and depending on the size of the hotel it takes up to 20 mins or more. (Las Vegas Hotels in particular!)

Even before the arrival of COVID-19 with the emphasis on contactless, the importance of both the lobby and reception desk has changed as different demographics have demanded change and technology has been at the forefront with firstly kiosks and now mobility allowing guests to use their own phone to check in or using a digital key on their to phone to access the guestroom.

I am a baby boomer (ie: someone born between 1946-1964) and for many years this has been the largest and most profitable demographic for the hospitality industry.

The front end of this generation in now entering or is approaching retirement, changing not only their expectations but the properties they visit and the amenities they use. 

Generation X was labelled as the ‘lost generation’. Gen X’rs are now solidly in their prime earning years.  Aged 39 to 54, Gen X’rs were born between 1965 and 1980.  As a whole, they are considered agile and self-reliant with a good work ethic. They are highly educated and are now moving into leadership roles in the business world. Gen Xers pushed hotel brands to satisfy flexibility and convenience and this has led to hotel chains creating multiple brands geared to this demographic.

The largest remaining swath of current hotel guests are Millennials, a.k.a. Generation Y.  Millennials are aged 23 to 38. Although they now comprise a large part of the economy this group was most impacted by the Great Recession and this current COVID-19 downturn. They tend to be more idealistic and flexible than their predecessors. They are more tech-savvy and are highly educated. Hoteliers responded to Millennials needs with technological upgrades.

These generations have also experienced the biggest technological shift since the industrial revolution. Computers and mobile phones changed not only how they learn, but how they interact and conduct business. Embracing technology and addressing the sensibilities of the Boomer/Gen X/Millennial cohort has led to many of the innovations now expected in today’s hotel properties. 

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