Smartphones, as we know them today, are 10 years old. Approximately 45% of the world’s population uses a smartphone (Statista and Census Bureau, 2020) and they have become intertwined with our lives in countless ways – from getting around with the help of Google Maps and Uber, connecting with friends on Zoom and Facetime, checking the thermostat at home, shopping online, changes to investment portfolios, browsing for personalized movie recommendations and planning complex vacations – among others.
But when we look at hotels and restaurants, the recognition and adoption of digital tools is far less complete. In 2015, Karel Dörner and David Edelman published a paper that defined “digital” as creating business value now (Edelman, 2015). In the context of hospitality service, digital means nearly instant, free, and the ability to connect people, devices, and physical objects anywhere.
I recently read a pandemic recovery plan published by McKinsey (Aamer Baig, Bryce Hall, Paul Jenkins, Eric Lamarre, and Brian McCarthy, 2020) and this 90-day challenge for digital transformation resonated with me as a great roadmap for hospitality. There are four key focus areas – accelerating investments in response to evolving customer needs, using new data and AI to improve operations and guest service, selectively modernizing technology, and increasing the organization’s ability to act and deliver more quickly.