Like it or not, hotel companies are tech companies too


Over the past few months I’ve heard the same phrase repeated often at hotel conferences, usually by pretty big-name brand CEOs, and it’s this: “We’re not a technology company; we’re a hospitality company.”

Usually the context is that the speaker is trying to hammer home the idea that hotel companies at their core are people-focused, hospitality-focused, guest-satisfaction-focused and all of that.

It’s also usually a direct hit to the message that Expedia President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is fond of saying, which is something along the lines of “We’re not a travel company; we’re a technology company.”

Every time I hear that “we’re not a technology company; we’re a hospitality company” chestnut, I cringe. What I hear (and I’m probably not the only one) when an executive says this is, “Our core business is hospitality, so that’s all we’re going to do, and we’ll leave the technology to fairies who come in the middle of the night to take care of that tech stuff so we don’t have to focus on it.”

Hoteliers, you couldn’t be more wrong. There is no either/or in this scenario: You can be both a hospitality company and a technology company, and what’s more—you must be.

Successful companies that rely on e-commerce have to be what I call “technology and” companies. You can be a “technology and hotel” company (or a “hotel and technology” company if it makes you feel better to say it that way). You can be a “technology and shoes” company. The list goes on and on. The bottom line is this: if you’re selling anything online, you better consider yourself a “technology and” company, or you’re going to lose.

Hearing hotel executives from big-name brand companies say definitively that their companies are not technology companies sounds so outdated and quaint, to be honest. Of course, technology may not be your core business, but if you don’t consider it to be at or at least pretty darn close to top billing with your core business, you’re going to miss out on growth in today’s tech-driven world.

I don’t think any strong business can afford to be a one-trick pony anymore.

Look at it this way: All of us managers these days ask our employees to be more than one thing—I ask people to be a reporter AND an editor. You ask people to be front-desk staff AND breakfast attendants. These examples show us that well-rounded people bring better insight to an organization or a property’s goals.

So why would you consider yourself “just” a hotel company these days?

See original article at


About Author

Founded by two travel and technology professionals with years of experience in Asia, Representasia specialises in sales & marketing representation throughout Southeast Asia for travel/hospitality technology providers and travel-related startups, as well as providing marketing consultancy services for hotels and travel businesses in the region.

Join the Conversation!