This article was written for the 2007 Visionary Award in hospitality. There were three hotels that received different awards for their outstanding visions of what the hospitality industry should be like. The Mandarin Oriental won the award for exceeding guest expectations. The Mandarin Oriental hotel made sure that they were always trying to exceed the expectations of their guests. They would do this by capturing and storing information about their guests. Each guest had a profile that employees would look over and memorize so that they could personalize the experience for that guest as much as possible.
Ginn Resorts received the visionary award for Overall Technological Innovation. They have wireless Internet all over their property. They are currently testing wireless Internet on golf carts for a golf tournament that they will be hosting. Ginn Resorts offers a wide range of electronic amenities which includes such features as iPod docking stations, plasma televisions, video on demand, multiple DVD players, a Bose surround system, and an integrated remote control that even ties into the unit's lighting and can be managed centrally by the property in the event there's
The third hotel visionary’s award handed out this year went to Hilton Hotels Corp. for excellence in business intelligence. Business intelligence are the applications and technologies that are used to gather, provide access to, and analyze data and information about company operations. Hilton has become and expert on gathering information on their guests and using that information to give power to their employees to better serve their guests. Says Bob Baker, Hilton's vice president of OnQ solutions, “We want to empower our team members to serve our guests. If we know about some of the things they like in their room so they don't have to ask for it every time, we can offer that."
I believe that it is a great thing to be rewarding forward thinking companies for their innovations. New ideas regarding guest satisfaction (i.e. wowing the guest and new technologies on the property) are one of the most important aspects of running a hospitality establishment and these companies are doing just that. Innovation is important in any industry, but especially so in the hospitality industry because people will always be traveling. People will always want their amenities and to become a strong competitor in any market place you have to please your customers. This is exactly what these three companies have done. If they continue to innovate and perform as they have been, then other companies are going to find themselves playing catch up in order to compete.