Home / Annual Review 2018 – 2019 / Innovation / Finding the balance: human touch versus high tech
  1. Innovation
    1. Davos: winning trust in a digitalised, connected world
    2. Using technology to serve our clients
    3. Finding the balance: human touch versus high tech
    4. Connected Future: a global infrastructure report
    5. ShopBack seals latest major fundraising in Singapore
    6. FinTech reshapes financial services as sector booms
    7. WeWork: pioneering a new way of office working
  2. Anticipation
    1. Coty picks CMS as global adviser following beauty parade
    2. Tristan completes EPISO 5 fund raise amidst political turbulence
    3. Portuguese renewable energy sector heats up with EUR 600m Novenergia sale
    4. New challenges in a changing world
    5. E-Procurement sets new commercial tone for EU contractors
  3. Supporting Growth
    1. Advance takes centre stage with theatre group acquisition
    2. Advent seals EUR 1.9bn Zentiva deal as healthcare booms
    3. Cinven acquires PPF as European pet food market flourishes
    4. Liberty sells European assets to Vodafone in EUR 18.4bn mega-deal
  4. Managing Risk
    1. Protecting trade marks across Europe
    2. Markel takes Hippo to task in complex insurance arrears dispute
    3. Creating a tax-effective structure for a private equity investment
    4. Climate change liability – new litigation risks
    5. New lab services agreements for Honeywell following Homes spin-off
  5. Inside CMS
    1. From China to Chile: cultural differences and the ties that bind
    2. CMS breaks ground with first global tech start up programme, equIP
    3. Facing the future
  6. CSR and Diversity & Inclusion
    1. Helping to achieve a better world
  7. Interviews
    1. Interview with Olga Belyakova
    2. Interview with Jeremy Tan
    3. Interview with Laura Houet
    4. Interview with Ramón Huapaya
    5. Interview with Daniela Murer
    6. Interview with Christopher Jordan
    7. Interview with Herman Boersen
    8. Interview with Sibylle Schnyder
    9. Interview with Clemens Grossmayer
    10. Interview with Robert Stephen
    11. Interview with Mary Allan
    12. Interview with Matias Somarriva
    13. Interview with Denis Redon
    14. Interview with Joaquim Sherman de Macedo
    15. Interview with Eleanor Lane
    16. Interview with Niklas Zaugg
    17. Interview with Joachim Kaetzler
    18. Interview with Andreas Otto

Finding the balance: human touch versus high tech

"We are moving towards becoming an IT and tech company rather than just a bricks and mortar company."
Chief Commercial Officer CitizenM

Hotel reviews and websites create expectation yet the moment a guest arrives, it is all about the experience. Enjoyment translates into loyalty and positive word of mouth.

Many hotel brands are recognising that in-room technology is appealing to millennials as a way of making stays more personalised and convenient. Guests increasingly see their smartphones as a way of linking to a hotel’s ‘concierge for a digital age’ and they want to use their own smartphone apps in their rooms and shared spaces.

A growing number of hotels offer guests the ability to stream their Netflix onto their room’s television. Others enable control of lighting and thermostats remotely via their app. Some hotels have even added an Amazon Echo unit so that guests can stream music, check the weather and search for local things to do via voice command.

Anvar Sagdullaev, Digital Services Network and Systems Manager at AccorHotels, a CMS client, said, “We are expanding not just in bricks and mortar but in the rest of the business. Competition is healthy so we do not aim to cut out the disruptors, but improve on what they are doing so we remain the best.”

The world is also becoming more health conscious and fitness focused.

More than a quarter of millennial travellers describe ‘natural and healthy’ as important in their holiday choices. Hilton has already embraced this by creating the Five Feet to Fitness room concept which enables guests to exercise in the privacy of their room. A computer kiosk provides over 200 guided exercise tutorials and classes as well as different fitness equipment and accessory options.

According to a CMS report, getting the basics of technology in hotels right should be the priority – and more advanced technologies are not as essential. 89% of millennials say their personal devices should  be easily connected to in-room technology and 92% expect there to be free high-speed WiFi in their rooms. Climate control and apps for hotel services also featured highly and 63% of millennials would happily forfeit some room space for a high-tech room with features such as Google's Nest smart technology. In contrast, only 20% of millennials would like to see voice-based in-room technologies in hotel rooms like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant, and only 20% want digital door keys through a mobile device.

CMS client CitizenM was an early pioneer of the high-tech hotel experience and has expanded swiftly with multiple new launches in Europe, the Americas and Asia in recent years. Lennert De Jong, Chief Commercial Officer at CitizenM, said, “We are moving towards becoming an IT and tech company rather than just  a bricks and mortar company.”

In some respects, hoteliers seem to be on the right track. 70% have introduced high-speed WiFi over  the last 12 months and 59% have introduced apps for hotel services. However, in several areas they appear to have misjudged millennial demand for certain features. So far, only 35% have introduced climate control technologies. 23% have introduced digital interactive screens, with a further 20% planning to do so in the next 12 months, despite only 18% of millennials ranking this as a particularly desirable feature. A similar pattern emerges for other high-tech features such as automated room service delivery.