Despite living in a fast-paced world of technological change, some hospitality businesses are still hesitant when it comes to adopting new technology even though it holds the key to long term success. With an array of different solutions across the market, it’s not surprising that hospitality providers feel overwhelmed by the options available today. Here, we look at three recurring barriers around adopting tech, from cost concerns and integration worries to complexity and fears around onboarding staff.
“Change must be regarded as an asset in the ever-changing hospitality landscape. The fear of end-user acceptance and the resistance to abandoning processes that have worked, can be overwhelming and are often barriers to entry, but new tools for automation and optimisation are necessities, not simply nice to haves.” [Forbes, February 2023]
Barrier 1: Cost and Economic Pressures Perceived cost and complexity associated with implementing new technology has deterred many hospitality businesses from taking the plunge. The knock-on effect is that many are dragging their heels and muddling along with outdated manual processes, which is causing bigger problems. A survey commissioned by Zupa in 2022, found 99% of hospitality workers said multiple aspects of their job were being overlooked due to time-consuming manual processes, as a result of legacy systems and high volumes of manual admin – in fact, 40% admitted this is a real problem.
The fears around investing significant capital into new technology without a clear indication of ROI (Return on Investment) has also held many businesses back. Yet, technology costs have significantly reduced, with many cloud-based, scalable platforms like Zupa’s Caternet, completely changing how software is financed, with no hefty upfront capital expenditure - so costs, as well as functionality, grow as your business grows.
In the current climate, hospitality businesses have an increasing challenge to justify allocating budget and resource to technology investments. Nevertheless, failing to embrace technology leads to greater inefficiencies from an operational perspective, increased costs, and risks stifling long term growth and success. Adopting technology to automate admin heavy processes, streamline operations, and enhance staff productivity, will ultimately help businesses to reduce costs and increase bottom line.
Barrier 2: Onboarding staff Another concern for hospitality businesses has been the challenge of training staff to use new technology. The fear of resistance or lack of technical skills among employees has hindered company-wide adoption of innovative solutions. Despite this, when Zupa surveyed UK hospitality firms last year, it discovered 43% believed technology would help their business.
More and more software companies like Zupa, now provide easy to use, intuitive solutions, with full training and ongoing support, to ensure that every member of the team feels comfortable and able to access the advantages of the system. Once in practice, software solutions, like Caternet by Zupa, have the ability to empower employees, freeing up more of their time to do the jobs they love, thereby leading to greater job satisfaction and improved loyalty and retention. In fact, it could be argued that the findings from our commissioned research supports this, revealing that staff happiness and productivity are suffering at the hands of poor team cohesion and outdated processes with 44% highlighting this as a major issue. (See our recent blog on poor team cohesion).
A lack of awareness and understanding about the potential benefits of technology has also contributed to resistance among hospitality businesses. Many may not be aware of the specific solutions available, or how to ensure the technology they choose is fit for purpose. Indeed, technology should only be implemented if it addresses the unique challenges of the business. Hospitality firms need to do their research, actively seek information and engage with technology providers to gain a deeper understanding of the potential benefits and advantages that the right technology can offer (see top tips here).
Barrier 3: Loss of human touch The hospitality industry has long prided itself on providing a personal, human touch, a vital attribute for the sector. As a result, some businesses have been hesitant to adopt technology, fearing it may disrupt the human interaction that customers value and that is vital for the guest experience. It is therefore becoming important that the sector recognises that technology is there to enhance customer service and guest experience, not to replace the human touch. By using technology in the right way, to automate mundane tasks and free up time for staff to innovate and boost creativity, businesses can strike a balance between automation and elevating the in-person offering.
In summary, while hospitality businesses have had valid concerns about adopting certain kinds of technology in the past, it is essential for them to recognise that technology is the key to unlocking future success. In some cases, this might mean taking one step back to invest the necessary time and resource into embracing new technology, but the outcome once that technology is being used in a purposeful way, will result in a huge leap forward.
Source: Censuswide independent survey (May 2022) commissioned by Zupa.