The term smartness has been discussed in the academia for many years; prior research has listed numerous advantages and encouraged business entities to implement smart technologies. However, stakeholders’ knowledge level, support intention and barriers to smart technology have been under investigated. Without the support of stakeholders, smart projects can hardly be implemented. This paper aims to explore the above-mentioned under investigated area and identify the gaps between academia and the hotel industry in Taiwan.
In-depth interviews were conducted with nine hotel stakeholders in Taiwan with investors, owners, managers, technology suppliers and information technology consultants. Three key areas were focused on: smart hotel definition, expectations from smart hotel and known barriers for implementing smart technologies.
The definition of smart hotel among all stakeholders was inconsistent. Stakeholders defined a smart hotel according to their role in the organization: revenue boost, service customization, operations effectiveness and in-room automation. However, the key functions of smart technologies, such as interconnectivity and interoperability with business partners’ application (e.g. online travel agencies) and linkage to external Big data for accurate revenue forecast, were not mentioned by the interviewees. In addition, social media monitoring, robots and artificial intelligence were not mentioned during the interview.
This study attempted to identify Taiwanese hotel stakeholders’ perspective on smart hotel and to compare the outcome with academic research. The result indicated that there is a big gap in the definition of “smart hotel” among stakeholders and academia and reflected several barriers that prohibit hotel owners and investors in implementing smart systems.
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