Although 91 per cent have confidence in the security and privacy of their information-technology systems, nearly half agree that it is a big concern that hampers further investment.
There is also reluctance due to uncertainty that a fair return on investment can be achieved and how staff capabilities will measure up to the new technology. This could mean that hotels need to invest more in their resources or risk missing out on prime growth opportunities. In addition to this, digital strategies and business plans should be aligned in order to support growth.
The survey was conducted during April and May on chief executive officers, managing directors, general managers or other senior executives in four- and five-star hotels in Thailand. The final number of completed surveys covered 66 properties in Thailand. The questions related to guest demographics and occupancy rates based on performance throughout 2015.
Andrew McBean, a partner at Grant Thornton and expert in technology, media and telecommunications, said the power of technology was phenomenal. There are many new trends to consider, especially in social media. Hotels need to make sure their social-media and digital strategies are strongly linked with their business strategies.
They need to integrate their digital strategy and technological improvements fully into their overall strategic plan, he said. And hotels need to invest effectively in technology in order not only to attract more customers but to personalise guest experiences.
The survey also found that investment in technology and digital strategy up to the end of 2016 is still growing among most Thai properties. Some 73 per cent are investing more in 2016 than they did in 2015. A total of 56 per cent have their own resources to manage technology and digital strategy, and 35 per cent use both in-house or headquarters staff and outsourced vendors.
Only 10 per cent were not confident in their digital strategy, and these hotels were not part of global chains.
Many were worried about achieving a fair return on their technology investment, with two in three sharing this opinion.
Other concerns included staff having the skills to utilise the technology being introduced; 51 per cent voiced this as a concern, with another 48 per cent worried about guest privacy and confidentiality.