With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility


Ordinarily, I don’t accept an invitation to judge a competition about new technological innovations for the hospitality industry. Usually, I’d be fighting off vendors with either the pre-arranged phrase of “I don’t need it” or “I don’t have the budget”. Unfortunately, on this occasion, the hospitality world is in crisis and I thought it pertinent to see what technology solutions are on show as there is a pressing need for guidance. Yes, technology will get you out of the crisis. Investment now will make sure we survive.  

So, I’ve been asked to judge a competition for “Tech Innovation of The Year”, that will propel efficiency in the hospitality industry at the Hotel360 Expo. Some of you may well ask, what is the Hotel360 Expo? And yes I agree, I hadn’t heard of it either. It is, in fact, a place where like-minded individuals who come together and drive hospitality forward, unlike the gathering of the superpowered G8, G6 or however many there are now. Where vendors and exhibitors peddle their wares. People who will mull over lost business revenue and discuss ideas of how to recover. Most importantly though, it is a place to find that one gem that can be used to make a difference. I will have the responsibility to find that gem, that will hopefully guide hospitality professionals on the future of technology and make some money for its poor founders. Or find a failure even after I have given it my stamp of approval, as these benevolent innovators haven’t realized that hospitality is notorious for being followers and not trend setters. Perhaps that will change now, as it must.

If it were normal times, I could really see this event as a jolly outing after a long hiatus where I could lap up the VIP status and network with like-minded folk and have a great time. If I were avaricious and had all that furlough money in the bank account, then I’d see it as an investment opportunity and I would grill the innovators, reeling them in like a Dragon and probably asking for 90% of their businesses. However, extraordinarily though, I would take this seriously. As seriously as I would take a boy in blue and red tights swinging from building to building. What? Huh? Yes, I hear you. Let me explain.

Peter Parker (the boy in the blue and red tights) was shaped by his decisions. The wrong choices he made, resulted in the death of Uncle Ben. That is when Spiderman was born. If the pandemic has shown us anything then it is the result of the choices we have made in this industry, that define our succeses and failures. When the going was good, we kept doing what we had been doing. When it became bad, think of the banks in 2008, without people jumping out of buildings of course. That’s why, being a judge for this prestigious award, allows me to choose the right revolutionary technological innovations and reward them with an approval. So that you might see the potential and take a calculated risk, for now and in the future. Make that empowering ‘right’ decision. It also allows me to become a Superhero mind you. Now who wouldn’t want that. But with that, comes great responsibility.

But what of these promises made by vendors and new founders of the supreme ability to revolutionize the hospitality environment and help guest service and satisfaction with an unbelievable product? Promises, which hospitality owners have invested in in the past and have found them lacking in results. Well, it all depended and depends on two things and two things alone. One, following my recommendation. And two, the user. The latter is usually the cause of failure.

If technology is applied and no investment is made on the user, then it is like installing central heating in your building and your employees still burn wood to keep warm. In essence, you start with a badly trained user (or lack of them) that will ultimately mean ending with a bad product and then inevitably a bad investment. That simply, just will not do.

And of course, for those of you that don’t recognize it, there is irony in there too. And when one must explain irony, it’s like explaining a bad joke. The point is just lost. Well, in this instance, I certainly hope not.

Catch me at the Hotel360 Expo at ExCel London on September 29th 2021, judging “The Tech Innovation of The Year”.

Be sure to register for your free ticket below, to attend a truly unmissable event:

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