Cornell Study Urges Hoteliers to Be Realistic Regarding Guest Self Service Kiosks

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When it's good, it's very good, but when self-service goes wrong, guests don't come back, new hospitality study shows

As more hospitality companies implement some form of IT-based self-service, many are seeking to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction, and possibly reach new customer segments. A new hospitality study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research points out that when self-service kiosks function correctly, it does enhance guest satisfaction and improves hotels' financial results. However, when a problem occurs with the self-service computer system, guests are far less willing to return, much less pay a premium rate.

The study, "Integrating Self-Service Kiosks in a Customer Service System," by Tsz-Wai Lui and Gabriele Piccoli, is available at no charge from the CHR. Lui is on the faculty of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Piccoli is a professor at the University of Grenoble Ecole de Management. Lui and Piccoli compiled statistics from two hotel chains totaling 163 hotels to determine the ratio of automated check-ins and the ratio of failed check-ins, using lobby self-service kiosks. They matched those data with aggregate financial performance from Smith Travel Research.

The hospitality study found that adding the self-service kiosks did improve the hotels' financial results, but the improvement showed a time lag. Thus, they caution hoteliers not to expect instant returns from adding self-service kiosks. However, when something went wrong with the self-service check-in, the hotels in question saw a reduction in guests' willingness to pay and willingness to return. For this reason, Lui and Piccoli urge careful rollout of self-service technology, along with substantial staff support for guests who are using computers to check-in.

Lui and Piccoli noted one peculiar finding. The addition of the self-service kiosks did not increase guests' perceptions of service speed at check-in. While their study did not provide a reason for this finding, they speculate that guests may have use the check-in time to consult with services representatives regarding the destination or other topics.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 79 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit .

Center Senior Partners: Hilton Worldwide, McDonald's USA, Philips Hospitality, Southern Wine and Spirits of America, Inc., STR, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, and TIG Global

Center Partners: Davis & Gilbert LLP, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, Denihan Hospitality Group, eCornell & Executive Education, Expedia, Inc., Forbes Travel Guide, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Fox Rothschild LLP, French Quarter Holdings, Inc., FX Real Estate and Entertainment, Inc., HVS, InterContinental Hotels Group, Jumeirah Group, LRP Publications, Marriott International, Inc., Marsh's Hospitality Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Proskauer Rose LLP, SAS, Smith Travel Research, SynXis (a Sabre Holdings Corporation), Thayer Lodging Group, Thompson Hotels, Travelport, WATG, and WhiteSand Consulting

Center Friends: • American Tescor, LLC • Argyle Executive Forum • Berkshire Healthcare • Cody Kramer Imports • Cruise Industry News • DK Shifflet & Associates • • EyeforTravel • Gerencia de Hoteles & Restaurantes • Global Hospitality Resources • Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) • • • Hospitality Technology Magazine • Hotel Asia Pacific • Hotel China • • Hotel Interactive • Hotel Resource • HotelWorld Network • International CHRIE • International Hotel Conference • International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) • iPerceptions • JDA Software Group, Inc. • Lodging Hospitality • Lodging Magazine • Milestone Internet Marketing • MindFolio • Mindshare Technologies • Parasol • PhoCusWright Inc. • PKF Hospitality Research • The Resort Trades • RealShare Hotel Investment & Finance Summit • Resort and Recreation Magazine • • Shibata Publishing Co. • Synovate • The Lodging Conference • TravelCLICK • UniFocus • USA Today • WageWatch, Inc. • WIWIH.COM

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