Are Hotels Condemned to Live in the Past?

Posted on September 16, 2010


We are all thrilled by new technologies and how innovation can influence the way we live and how we run businesses. The challenge we all face is that technology is evolving so fast that by the time we just comprehend the way it works it is already too late.

I came across this futuristic, yet fairly realistic, video on YouTube that inspired me this post.

Just watching at these couple of minutes of video, we can all picture the possibilities and opportunities this vision can open for the hotel industry and how new technologies can completely transform the hotel guest experience. But as crazy as it may sound, this video will be already outdated by 2020.

So the main challenge I see coming up is not really our ability to innovate, but simply the ability of the hotel industry to anticipate innovation instead of betting on certainty and have R&D departments that not only predict the future but contribute creating it.
The life cycle of any IT equipment is getting shorter and shorter but it still takes an average of two years to plan and design a hotel, two to three years to build it and five to seven years before a renovation can be considered. So it simply makes it impossible to operate a hotel that is in phase with its current time. By the time it opens, it is already outdated.

In other words, hotels we are experiencing today have been thought through 10 years ago.

Imagine if you were to use TODAY the fanciest mobile phone designed in 1999, you would carry this Nokia 7110.

And actually, I could name many hotels that are not that old but very much look like this mobile phone…

So, are hotels simply condemned to live in the past or how can we better anticipate the future?

Fabrice Burtin – September 2010

Related articles:
Innovation – victim of certainty
WiFi connection in hotels – the new hot water
Innovation – why the hotel industry has missed the train?