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Major hotel brands are increasing their investments in guest-facing technologies to keep up with the pace of innovation and rising guest demand.

These are some of the top-level finds of a new study from Hospitality Technology magazine, which also highlighted how brands are challenged by managing the ROI of new IT investments.

According to the study, key 2015 priorities for hotel technology were the development of mobile-facing technologies and enhancing bandwidth. Other key priority areas were securing data, moving to the cloud and developing mobile solutions for employee-facing applications

Of course, with any kind of technology investment, there are bound to be challenges, as highlighted in the report below:

  • 29 percent said that guests expect technological progress faster than hotels can reasonably keep up with
  • 21 percent find it difficult to properly manage the ROI on new technologies
  • 16 percent feel IT is under-budgeted
  • 15 percent are challenged by a resistant company culture as far as technology
  • 11 percent doesn’t have the appropriate talent to deliver the best IT

In our opinion, the top opportunities and challenges could potentially be one and the same: keeping up with innovation to meet demand. Fortunately, it is possible to achieve this by bringing in the right innovation partners who can help build out testable pilot programs.

By taking this strategy, it is easier to put aside the fear of taking innovation risks, which could pay off in terms of gaining guest loyalty and brand differentiation. A key foundation for this is to take a mobile-first approach when it comes to innovation development.

This study reinforces that hoteliers are looking to develop innovations for pleasing the guests, but have to balance this out with ensuring that their investments will pay of in the long term.