Concerns were voiced during a debate on hospitality IT that technology which recognises guests as soon as they arrive at a hotel and provides services, according to their likes and dislikes, could be too intrusive.
Such technology is now widely in use within the retail industry in the USA and the Far East, with major multi-national companies using real time location tracking through mobile devices, the conference for technology, finance and revenue management professionals in hospitality was told. This enables the retailer to send tailor-made special offers to the customer as their arrive in-store.
"This goes beyond wowing the customers, it becomes scaring the customer," said Timo Kettern, IT director, Westbridge Europe.
Technology should not be relied upon to recognise the guests, according to Jeremy Ward, senior vice president of IT, Kempinski. "Hotels that employ the right staff should be able to recognise their guests without the use of technology and for this reason I don't think photographic guest recognition in five star hotels will ever work."
However, speaking in favour of a more controlled use of technology, Carson Booth, vice president global property technology, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, said that guests want a better way of being able to experience the world in a more personalised way. "Technology within the hospitality industry is a tool which should be used to deliver the right service to the right person."
HOSPACE 2013 was held at the Sofitel London Heathrow T5.