Chloe Carver and Cara Kun, two graduate students at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality, tell us about their recent capstone research project: a research study in collaboration with hospitality technology company StayNTouch. The study examined hotelier views/uses of technology in the hospitality industry.
How did you get involved in this study?
Chloe: In the Consulting Strategies course, students have the opportunity to act as consultants for real hospitality companies. We had a few companies to choose from and we were both drawn to Stayntouch. For me, I was excited to work with an industry leader that is disrupting the status quo.
Cara: I used to work in tech, so this project was a no-brainer. I love the hospitality and tech industries, and this was where I could combine both passions.
How did you conduct your research?
Chloe: First, we met with Stayntouch and found out they were interested in publishing a report about hotelier sentiments about technology. Tech use changed a lot during the pandemic, so the goal of the report was to provide hoteliers and hospitality vendors with information about current tech trends.
Cara: We spent a lot of time working on the survey questions, and then distributing them to hoteliers. We also interviewed four vendors and five hoteliers to get a deeper understanding of their views on technology.
What were your main findings? Were you surprised by them?
Chloe: The report uncovered a number of key takeaways which shed light on the hospitality industry’s relationship with technology. Some of those takeaways are:
1) The number of hotels using popular technology (including self-service check-in, in-room technology, automation, and chatbots) increased by 31% throughout the pandemic. This number is projected to increase by an additional 19% in 2022.
2) 92% of respondents indicated increased acceptance of contactless technology by their guests.
3) Nearly 75% of respondents believe that contactless tech will become a long-term trend.
4) 43.6% of respondents indicated that their front-desk department was the most capable of operating with a smaller staff, followed by sales & marketing (38.5%).
Cara: Personally, I was surprised to see the big jump in technology implementation from before and during the pandemic. More hoteliers and guests accepted the use of technology within the hotel setting, which is a really great thing.
Chloe: I was surprised that when asked which technologies helped support a smaller staff, 11.6% of participants responded that technology has not helped. This percentage seemed high considering there is a wide range of automation tools and other technologies that are designed to lighten the workloads of hotel personnel by automating or streamlining processes. When a hotel is fully staffed, these technologies can be utilized to enable employees to have more time for hospitality and service-related tasks. When a hotel is understaffed, these technologies can assist by making it easier for employees to manage larger workloads.
Who were your NYU mentors while you were working on this study?
Cara: We worked closely with Professor John Moser, who taught the Consulting Strategies course. I cannot thank him enough for teaching us so much in the course and giving us this amazing opportunity. We also worked with Fre Golla and Aldrick Sholtz, from Stayntouch. They gave us a lot of support and provided guidelines for the goals of the project.
Chloe: I second Cara’s appreciation for Professor Moser’s guidance. He taught us how to be successful consultants. Fre and Aldrick were such a pleasure to work with. Additionally, NYU faculty Dean Graf and Dr. Bogicevic provided us with valuable support. We appreciate their generosity of time and willingness to share their expertise.
What’s next regarding this study/your research?
Cara: I hope that this research provides a lot of insights into our industry and for it to be helpful in the decision-making on technology investment.
Chloe: At the end of the report, we highlight a few areas that could be researched further. However, as Cara mentioned, we feel this report will help hoteliers become more comfortable with technology. I am very happy to say we have already received a few emails from consultants and hoteliers thanking us for the report. It is exciting to hear our research is being used by industry professionals.
What’s next for both of you?
Cara: I am excited to share that I will be joining Highgate as a Complex Revenue Analyst. Highgate is one of the largest and most respectable hotel management companies in the US, so I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that.
Chloe: And I am currently looking for position in hotel operations. I want to be a hospitality consultant, so it is important to get sufficient hands-on operations experience in order to be an effective consultant.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Cara: I want to thank everyone at the Tisch Center of Hospitality who made this happen for us. My classmates are very talented and always up for a challenge, which made the program more exciting for me.
Chloe: I commend the Tisch Center for providing students with opportunities to work with hospitality companies. This was an invaluable experience, and it is the highlight of my time in the program.