Hotel operators need to make wiser guest experience choices: Joerg Wagner [Video]
Hospitality needs to find technological solutions to strike the delicate balance between raising revenue and providing excellent guest experience, says Axxess Industries CEO Joerg Wagner.
The simplest of ideas birth innovative companies and entire industries.
When Axxess Industries was started 20 years ago, the idea was to do away with “Do Not Disturb” doorknob hangers, and substitute it with an electronic indicator system.
Since then, the company has expanded into guest room controls and automation from an energy management and guest comfort point of view. These innovative systems improve the touch points between hotel guests and staff while boosting the overall efficiency of housekeeping departments.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles, Axxess Industries CEO Joerg Wagner spoke to TOPHOTELNEWS about the delicate challenge for hotel operations to balance profitability vs guest experience.
Challenge of profitability vs guest experience
Wagner: My sense is that we have a big challenge in reconciling the need to make money with the guest experience. We talk a lot about the guest experience and giving the guest an experience that is even better than what they have at home, and yet, at the same time, value engineering, as we call it here in North America, outclasses guest experience by a pretty wide margin, in my experience.
It’s a difficult balance to strike, and I understand that, because everybody is there to make some money. But oftentimes we do sacrifice guest experience for the money.
Hotel operators need to make wiser guest experience choices
Wagner: You know, in many cases, it’s just a choice. But I’ve been to one hotel where they sent the housekeepers around every morning at eight o’clock to knock on every guest room door, just to find the people that have not slept in their bed, because the housekeeper does not get credit for the room that does not need to be made up. They call it sleep-outs.
And that’s a tremendous inconvenience to impose on all the guests to find those one or two rooms in that segment to save money on paying the housekeeper. That’s the kind of choice I’m talking about where I say it’s just really unfortunate that that would be the choice that would be made.
On the genesis of Axxess Industries
Wagner: When we started Axxess, we were very excited about the possibility of doing away with Do Not Disturb doorknob hangers, and substituting an electronic indicator system. That’s been the core company product for the first 10 years.
Since then, we’ve also expanded into guest room controls, in terms of automation, both from an energy management point of view, and from a guest comfort point of view. That has given us a lot of breadth in which to spread our wings and to grow more, and that’s certainly part of why we have grown quite a bit in the last year, for example.
On the industry outlook for 2019 and beyond
Wagner: Overall, our outlook is positive. We’ve had a good two years. Last year we increased revenues by 25%, which we would think is a good thing to do. However, as you know, the hotel business being very project-orientated, can be very lumpy, so you can’t really predict from month to month or even from year to year. But overall, I would say the outlook is still positive.
On the industry’s main growth regions
Wagner: We are focused more on North America. Our next biggest hot spot is Australia, but in North America, we still have lots of growing to do. In terms of cities, our recent good experiences have been in places like New York; we’ve always liked Miami and the LA area.
Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Wagner: It certainly has been very interesting to meet some new people. I think out of the whole group today, there was only one person I’ve met before. You know, I always like meeting people. I’m that kind of guy. I think we’ve had some meetings that will hopefully bear some fruit in the future with cooperation and working together, and that’s always the exciting part. We’re in this to grow ourselves, but also to grow in the industry, and to see guest experience become the focus and be more of the focus, and so we’re investing in that.
Joerg Wagner was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Los Angeles 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.
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