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The world as we know it has changed dramatically over the last decade as a result of technical advances and the resulting changes in behaviour; so much so that experts are now worried about the effect on our wider society.

Mobile devices now occupy our every waking moment, both in our personal lives and where we work. It affects how we interact, consume information, entertain ourselves, shop and so much more. The use of technology in marketing has single-handedly become one of the most significant business developments of our age. This extent to this is simply down to the underlining fact that we use our mobile phones all the time and very rarely leave them unattended; most of us are actually permanently within 1 meter of our phones. Have a think when the last time you left yours for any extended period of time? Also, take a moment to step back and think what you would do if someone was to suddenly come and take away your mobile device without warning? Having had this recently happen to me I can share that the feeling was a mixture of anxiety, emptiness, hopelessness perhaps? All for a device! The phone itself is just a vessel but until you take it away, you don’t realise the hole that is left.

This dependence on our phones is having some serious affects on our mental state according to many experts. The lower levels of human interaction, and conversations thanks to our phones is leading to a national drop in social skills, meaning the days of actual vocal conversation may be leaving. An argument against this point might be to say that you are still communicating with other people, sow what’s the difference? Experts say that the majority of our communication is actually delivered through non-verbals; body language, tone, phrasing etc and by taking this away, you’re also taking away a significant proportion of the total meaning delivered. Surveys of employees across a number of large business around the world report they would rather send an email to someone sitting next to them instead of getting up and hosting a normal conversation.

This can also be backed up with the introduction of new technology that aims to speed up processes.  The introduction of self-checkout procedures at all supermarket chains for example; we lose out on the token hello and brief conversation with the cashier. This automated service once again is causing society to conduct themselves with fewer moments of face to face communication.

How does this fit into hotel marketing?

From the industrial revolution we have seen jobs change and in some cases, replaced by automation of processes. AI will offer another opportunity to this further so we’re trying to clearly distinguish between the useful benefits (of which there are loads!) and the unhelpful and unforeseen consequences.

Our advice would be to always view technology as a facilitator; a means to an end and not an end itself. Ask what technology and automation mean on a human level – Ask yourself if it starves conversation of important non-verbal communication or does it actually promote interaction and human engagement? In some business cases where convenience and efficiency is the key selling point this might be fine, but if you’re focussing on service we think that one must remain vigilant to unhelpful side effects when it comes to replacing human roles in a hotel or hostel.

At Umi we’re using technology to improve your service, not to replace your service. If you’d like to find out how we might be able to help your business then get in touch with us today.

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