Cornell Study Demonstrates How to Combine Tech with Personal Service

    A new study from the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) demonstrates how to combine technology with personal service to maintain guest satisfaction. The report bases its findings on recent research conducted by Michael Giebelhausen, an assistant professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, and colleagues, as well as two new experimental studies. The results showed that new technology can really improve the service experience, but guests don’t want to have their attention divided between technology and a frontline agent. “In one experiment, guests used a Monscierge Connect Lobby touchscreen that was located at a slight distance from a bell stand. This allowed enough distance between the two to create a ‘social space.’ The bell person was still nearby but the guest didn’t feel so awkward about not interacting,” Giebelhausen reports. The other study showed, though, that when guests had to divide their attention between a piece of technology and the frontline agent, satisfaction with the technology decreased. “One thing I’ve noticed is that guests don’t like it when technology comes between them and a frontline agent who has been interacting with them. The idea is that people feel awkward when technology prevents them from responding to an agent’s greeting, or if they feel that using the technology is making them appear rude to the agent.” The lesson here, says Giebelhausen, “is to make sure the guest, the employee, and the technology work together appropriately.”