Opinion: Pandemic brings lasting change

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Whatever else develops with this pandemic, one thing is certain. It has changed the world.

Today, I am launching a series of columns based on discussions with thought leaders from across Oklahoma — individuals in various industries, in private and public sectors, in nonprofits and education, and more. Our conversations have been about how the last six months will change the next six years and beyond.

One of the industries impacted fastest and most is the hospitality industry.

“There has been a shift across hospitality, not just hotels, but the restaurant business and the entire sector,” said Marcus Robinson, CEO of Monscierge, an Oklahoma City-based interactive software company with solutions installed in hotels around the world.

In hotels and other accommodations, he says, companies large to small are rethinking every aspect of the interaction between the guest and the property. Industry wide, companies, even those who may have previously been resistant, feel the imperative to implement technology to improve levels of service.

“When ATMs first came in,” Robinson said, “banks wanted to maintain the in-person relationship with clients. They didn’t want customers to go to machines, but customers just wanted to get their cash and move on with their day. Instead, ATMs elevated the level of customer service.”

It’s similar in hospitality. “Hospitality has been clinging to the thinking, that they needed a front desk and to interact directly with every guest,” Robinson said. “The pandemic is making hotel people think differently. We never want to get away from the level of service the front desk provides, but we do want to use technology where it is positive.”

Robinson and his team have been working with hospitality leaders since well before COVID-19 to provide ways to manage interactions between guest and hotel on guest terms — scalable, affordable platforms so that hotels can implement technology in an affordable way. “Things that were available to only large corporations are now, thanks to cloud and mobile computing, available and affordable for all,” he said.

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