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The new customer-facing technology: mobile and the constantly-connected consumer

Martha Anne Coussement (Consumer and Family Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Thomas J. Teague (Consumer and Family Sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 29 July 2013




The purpose of this paper is to argue that the use of technology by the “always connected” guest has changed the dynamics of the relationship between the hospitality entity and customer. Today's mobile customers have begun to create their own customized value with an organization. This transformation has caused a paradigm shift in a relationship once built on static, episodic periods of communication.


This paper conceptualizes a framework to support the claim of technological change begun with the internet and migrating to the present use of mobile technology. This change has fundamentally altered both business and leisure lives of travellers. The design of the article pivots around customer-facing technology as the principal engagement factor in developing a new model for decision making by industry.


Customers now access information as they need it; they are no longer tethered to a desktop device. This freedom has allowed the consumer to create value when and where he/she chooses. The duration of time for potential interaction has expanded, as the company can push information more frequently to their customers; however, the guest can still choose how often, when and where to pull the details. The customer has become his/her own “host” with the solutions provided by mobile technology.

Research limitations/implications

With the accelerating adoption of customer-facing devices, the issues of privacy and security have gained greater importance. Another research extension of this paper includes the impact of customer-facing technology on the guest life cycle and the impact of location-based services and “Near Field” communications on the customer experience.

Practical implications

Customers want their travel experience to be a seamless one; hospitality companies will need to begin a new customer-facing dialogue with their visitors. This industry can benefit from understanding the customer's greater power by comprehending the timing and duration of messages based on this mobile environment.


Mobile technology has allowed the untethered, always available consumer, to have control over his experience and the ability to customize his experience. This paper demonstrates that as the hospitality industry has moved away from management-facing technology to the new customer-facing technology, this paradigm shift offers the industry enormous opportunity to continue its development of newer and better mobile technologies.



The authors gratefully acknowledge the anonymous referee(s) for their insightful comments and suggestions during the reviewing process and Mr Mark Cosby, Chief Technology Officer, G3 systems for his contributions and advice.


Anne Coussement, M. and J. Teague, T. (2013), "The new customer-facing technology: mobile and the constantly-connected consumer", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 177-187.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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