In the past decade, spurred by the advent of the Internet, consumers have been besieged by tremendous change. Not a day goes by that we aren’t reminded that change is the only constant in life and failure to do so means we risk becoming stagnant. Hoteliers have learned — sometimes the hard way — that they need to be at the forefront of change, receptive to doing things differently in order to grow their business.
Two decades after we launched Hotelier as a quarterly publication the magazine has witnessed a flurry of change — some of it transformational, much of it slow and methodical. Throughout the past 20 years the magazine has recorded those changes, monitoring the industry’s progress and sometimes even serving as an agent of change, pulling the industry forward in a number of directions. Together we’ve seen Canada’s hotel landscape grow and evolve. And 20 years later the industry, and the magazine, have both matured.
What a vastly different world we live in today compared to those halcyon days. In retrospect, few would dispute it was a simpler time for hotels (for a Hotelier retrospective, see pg. 18). In the 1980s the Internet had yet to be introduced and e-mail and cellphones were just on the cusp of revolutionizing personal communication. On the entertainment front, in-room TVs were restricted to showing basic programming and a limited offering of in-room movies. Looking back it’s hard to imagine how hotels made do with manual check-in systems without the capability to track guest preferences or guest history. Or how they employed basic safety and security systems — unfathomable as it may sound to us in the post 9/11 world.
Similarly, the publishing world in 1989 was a far cry from today’s overcrowded, largely digitalized arena, where information overload seems to be the overriding philosophy. There was no digital content available for public consumption in the late ’80s; no websites, online magazines or electronic newsletters. Today, as newspapers and magazines reinvent themselves in the midst of dramatic change, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and the endless number of blogs have proliferated, heralding further change as to how tomorrow’s news and information will be delivered.
While sometimes daunting and overwhelming, the future remains full of promise and excitement. Consumers’ growing sophistication means tomorrow’s guests and readers will be more discerning and demanding than ever, in turn, presenting us with a world of new opportunities and challenges. One can only wonder what the next technological innovation will be and how it will further impact our lives in the coming decades. It’s unclear how the next 20 years will unfold, but you can bet hotels and publications alike will become more dynamic, more sophisticated and, importantly, even more relevant to their customers. Here’s to the next 20 years!