The technological rush in Indian hotels: General Manager & Leadership Roundtable Bengaluru
Technology has brought sweeping changes in the hotel industry. Hotelier India got general managers across Bengaluru to give us their take on the impact tech has had on the industry at the Hotelier India General Manager & Leadership Roundtable presented by Ecolab.
The mobile phone has been the biggest enabler in reducing the time lag between the customer’s request and the experience of the hotel. Notifications updating the guests regarding the status of their room or an up-gradation along with mobile check-in have practically become a requirement. Amitabh Rai, GM, Ritz-Carlton, Bengaluru believes that technology can be an ace up one’s sleeve depending on the category the hotel is in. “The battle is between luxury hotels and budget hotels. Tech plays a bigger role in budget hotels. With luxury hotels, people have the opportunity to detox from the devices, which dominate their everyday lives. While key-less entry is always appreciated since we’re always losing our keys, robot delivery, which is becoming a hit abroad, is unnecessary as it restricts communication,” he says.
While the spending power of the average Indian has increased, luxury has become affordable. Srijan Vadhera, GM, Conrad Bengaluru stated that you require a return on investment (ROI). “From the investor’s point of view, the technology in question may not even be required. What works in the United States might not work in India. The brand standard may be to have iPads in every room, but in India it may not be a requirement. Technology should not be forced on us; it should be practical and introduced based on what the guest wants,” he says.
With the increase in devices, another factor to take into consideration is maintenance and wear and tear. “Hotels in India have multiple apps to help make life easier and a little more convenient for the guests, especially in terms of check-in and check out. However, as a legal norm, we still have to sign in the register. So we are conditioned to approach the reception desk and complete all the formalities, which makes the mobile check-in at hotels to be rather unnecessary. So it all depends on what technology is relevant and to introduce only those that will have a positive effect,” remarks Varun Mohan, GM, Hyatt Centric.