The Pros and Cons of Automation for Hotels  

13 Mar 2023 by Zoé Koumbouzi in Best Practices

Automation is quickly becoming a go-to solution for hoteliers looking to overcome today’s efficiency, staffing, and technological challenges. From faster check-in times to digital concierge service, automation offers a number of advantages that can help hotels improve their operations and increase guest satisfaction. But it’s not without its drawbacks. In this blog, we’ll explore the pros and cons of automation for hotels and discuss the biggest obstacle to automation for hoteliers. 

To read the full guide go here.

Benefits of Automation 

Why is the use of automation for hotels growing so quickly? It offers a number of advantages that help hoteliers overcome today’s challenges, including: 

  • Speed & efficiency. By automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks, automated systems can save employees hours of work and reduce waiting times for guests. For example, citizenM Hotels promises one-minute check-in via its mobile app – a time limit employees would have a hard time beating. 
  • Convenience. Automation gives travelers the option of serving themselves rather than waiting in line or on hold. Hotel guests can make reservations and get answers to questions using their own devices when and where it’s convenient to them.
  • Fewer mistakes. Technology is less prone to error than employees. This is especially important when it comes to processing large volumes of data used to analyze performance and make decisions.
  • Contact-free service. Services like contactless payments, automated messaging, and self-check-in reduce direct contact between guests and employees, which continues to be important to travelers today.
  • Reduced costs. Automation can ease the impact of labor shortages by reducing staffing needs and making operations run more efficiently.
  • Higher guest satisfaction. By handling simple, repetitive tasks and transactions, automation frees up employees to attend to the more complex needs of guests.
  • Increased revenue. Automated offers to upgrade the room, check in early, or check out late can enhance the guest experience and drive incremental revenue.

Drawbacks to Automation 

Automation can have its downsides too, especially if not well planned out and tested. Here are a few of the pitfalls that hoteliers should be aware of: 

  • Guest complaints. If technology is confusing or frequently out of service, it can frustrate guests. A quick search of online reviews turns up a lot of guest complaints related to automation, often about the lack of employee assistance when things aren’t working as they should be.
  • Lack of employee presence. The more automation in a hotel, the fewer employees there are to attend to the needs of guests. This can affect service levels and take away from the buzzing ambience typical of hotels.
  • Costs. Automated systems can be costly to implement and require extensive staff training and maintenance costs, with returns of investment sometimes taking years to realize.
  • Fear of lost jobs. When implemented on a large scale, automation could potentially lead to worry about reductions in staffing or working hours for employees.
  • Integrations. To work well, automated systems need to be integrated with other hotel technology, which can be a complex and costly undertaking.

What’s the Biggest Obstacle to Automation for Hoteliers? Costs. 

We asked our audience what they thought was the biggest obstacle to automation in hotels. Here are the results: 

  • Costs of technology & training – 45%
  • Most guests prefer to be served by employees – 19%
  • Staff fear their jobs will be replaced – 17%
  • Risk of frustrating guests – 17%
  • Technology is not advanced enough – 2%

It’s interesting to observe that guest preferences and job security are less of an obstacle than costs. If costs weren’t an issue, how far would hotels go with automation? 

Automation can be a great tool for hoteliers to improve their operations and increase guest satisfaction. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of automation and the potential obstacles before implementing it. If you’re considering automation for your hotel, it’s best to talk to our team and discuss the potential for your property. With the right planning and implementation, automation can be a great asset to your hotel. 

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