The footprint of High Tech is all over business today. Consumers have instant 24/7 access to ordering flowers for someone who lives across the country or a customer who is located down the street. They can teleconference a meeting instead of traveling to a distant city and staying in a hotel. They can buy stock, check phone bills, and print boarding passes online. And do not forget cybercafés, PDAs, and Instant Messaging . These are just the bellwether of things to come.

But, by definition, people are social animals. They need to interact with other people, or as the song made famous by vocalist Barbara Streisand says, People. People who need people are the luckiest people in the world. So if people need human interaction, how and where does the High Touch aspect of serving your guest best fit onto your High Tech footprint? This is the question with which hotel managers and marketers must wrestle.

Service quality may be thought of as the cordial and generous treatment of guests. Assuming this to be true, how can a hotel website give cordial and generous treatment to future guests? What about a kiosk to get your room key without ever talking to someone at the front desk? What about the infamous on-hold voice message that guests hear while waiting for the next reservationists to pick up their call? "All our available reservations are busy serving other guests…your call is important to us… please wait…"

Tech and Touch are like the ying and yang of any hotel’s business. With today’s rapid acceleration of technology, there seems to be an increasing gap between the Tech and the Touch. The Tech and Touch of the guest experience are not in sync. This is the GRM gap that is scary. Hospitality is defined as "a friendly welcome and kind or generous treatment offered to guests or strangers." This is the Touch of the guest’s experience. Without this Touch, how can your hotel give its guests the gift of hospitality? How can guests form that emotional bond with your hotel brand? How can you build loyalty without that emotional glue? Certainly not with a kiosk, not with touch screen checkout, and not with wi-fi. They are the Tech.

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