Skift Take

Technology is rapidly changing how hotels operate and what consumers expect of them, putting company leaders in a precarious position of both anticipating and adopting to change at the same time.

This is an extract from our newly released e-book the Future of the Guest Experience — an unprecedented collection of 28 interviews with the CEOs of virtually all of the world’s top hotel groups including 11 global brands, 13 luxury and lifestyle brands, and four hotel marketing organizations.

Change is good, unless you’re a hotelier trying to make sense of rapidly changing consumer habits.

By collecting their thoughts on a similar set of topics–from technology and marketing to fees and training–we have tackled the hospitality’s most pressing topics from every angle and gained a glimpse at what the future of hospitality will truly look like.

Below are quotes from the e-book in which CEOs separately point to the pace of change as the biggest issue they contend with today.

Arne Sorenson, Marriott International

The biggest single issue we’ve got is to make sure that we move the product along as far as we can so that it is current and compelling.

David Kong, Best Western

The one unexpected thing is the speed of the change. The iPhones were launched only seven years ago and now they’ve sold half a billion units. The adoption of these smartphones and mobile devices, and what customers want to do on them, is all changing really really fast. The pace of change, to me, is unexpected.

Mark Hoplamazian, Hyatt Hotels

The biggest issue is really the pace of change in terms of consumer behavior and attitudes. Frankly, it’s a great opportunity for us to take advantage of the changes and new opportunities to figure out how to engage with travelers.

Neil Jacobs, Six Senses

The speed of technology is going up so we have to keep up with it, determine what’s too much or too little and find the right balance, especially given that we’re a high-end brand. It becomes a very expensive part of what we do every day — staying on top of where things are and implementing what’s necessary.

Brooke Barrett, Denihan Hospitality Group

One of the biggest is just coping with how quickly business is changing and really how quickly customers’ needs and wants are changing. The biggest shift that we’ve seen among people who stay with us is that everybody wants a unique travel experience that they can call their own.

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Photo credit: The iPhone is just one thing that's forced hotels to react quickly to changing consumer habits. Ng Han Guan / Associated Press

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