5 Common Hotel Automation Challenges to Overcome

Automating hotel operations that take away valuable time from your staff members can bring a number of benefits in terms of efficiency, cost savings, and overall guest satisfaction.

However, this process doesn’t come without its challenges, and it is important to address them.

That is why, in this article, we are discussing 5 of the most common hotel automation roadblocks you may encounter, as well as sharing some tips on how you can overcome them.

So, without further ado, let’s start with the most obvious one: the cost of implementation.

Cost of Implementation 

As a hotel owner, one of the first questions that might pop into your head when considering new software is, “How much is this going to cost us?”

Investing in solutions like property management, reservation, energy management, and surveillance systems can add up quickly.

So, you might start to think that automation isn’t such a great idea after all, and that you and your staff can make do with the resources and workflows you already have.

As it turns out, you’re not alone in this.

Namely, the cost of implementing new automation systems is a barrier for many hoteliers—especially if they want to automate multiple aspects of their operations at the same time.

According to the 2023 Digital Hotel Operations Study conducted by h2c, 60% of hotels cite the high cost of various systems as the biggest challenge in optimizing their operations.

On top of that, 83% state that the overall cost and affordable integration options are the biggest decision drivers for acquiring a new tech solution.

statistics about the cost of hotel automation

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: h2c

Tim Tidman, General Manager at Go Hotels, shares his experience:

quote about how expensive hotel automation can be

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: Atomize

So, how can you overcome this challenge and ensure your hotel stays with the times without breaking the bank?

First and foremost, don’t pressure yourself into automating all aspects of your operations at the same time.

In fact, chances are that not all of them need to be automated in the first place.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Which operation(s) are the least efficient?
  • Which tasks are the most repetitive and time-consuming for my staff?
  • What would our guests like us to automate?

Then, you can start looking into all the different options the market has to offer and make use of the free trials that many software solutions offer—WebBookingPro included.

webbookingpro free trial screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

That way, you and your staff get to test out what works best for your hotel without incurring additional costs or committing to a solution that isn’t the right fit.

So take the phased implementation approach we described above and automate the most impactful areas of business first.

This will make automation more manageable, less expensive, and truly beneficial—both for your staff and for your guests.

System Reliability 

Relying on various software solutions to take over specific tasks within your hotel can be daunting for hotel owners.

What if your system crashes and you’re unable to process the electronic payment of a guest rushing to catch their flight?

What if the PMS glitches and you lose all guest information?

Technology can be fickle, so these and similar concerns about the reliability of automation systems are not uncommon.

In fact, Stanislav Ivanov, Founder and Editor-in-chief of ROBONOMICS: The Journal of the Automated Economybelieves that many hoteliers are skeptical towards technology precisely because they’ve been burnt before.

quote about how hoteliers are skeptical towards technology

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Hospitality Net

However, the fact that technological issues can disrupt your hotel operations doesn’t mean that you should completely give up on automating tasks that rob you and your staff of valuable time.

Think about it: the phone or computer you’re reading this article on could give out at any moment.

And yet, you still use it daily and store important information on it without constantly worrying about losing it all.

So how can you apply the same mindset to your hotel technology?

In the simplest terms, choose your technology providers carefully.

Yes, finding the solution that perfectly fits the needs of your hotel is important, but it is just as important for the provider to be reliable and well-established in the industry.

That way, even if unforeseen issues arise, you can be confident that they’ll be there to offer support and assistance.

To help you on the quest of finding the best technology providers, here are some questions to take into consideration:

list of questions for finding the best hotel technology providers

Source: WebBookingPro

If your research shows you that the technology provider whose solution you’re looking at has

  • plenty of industry experience,
  • a proven track record,
  • robust security measures in place, and
  • reliable customer service,

they are a good contender.

Be wary, though, not to put all of the responsibility on the provider.

After all, issues like power outages can happen even if you opt for the best technology providers in the industry.

That is why you want to ensure you implement backup systems and develop protocols to ensure that, even if there is a system failure, the most crucial operations can still go on as normal.

Make your staff aware of the procedures they need to follow if unexpected system disruptions arise and provide training on how to communicate these disruptions to guests.

Having a protocol in place will give your guests peace of mind, but also enable your staff to remain productive and contribute to promptly resolving the issue.

So don’t let fear of technological issues make you miss out on great automation opportunities at your hotel.

Instead, do your best to prevent them from happening by investing in reliable technology providers and developing worst-case-scenario protocols.

Legacy System Integration 

According to the Avanade white paper on IT modernization, 80% of organizations believe that not modernizing their tech stack will negatively impact their growth.

Despite this, 30.96% of them are still using outdated, legacy systems in their operations.

If you invested a lot of money a decade ago into a solution that still serves you well, it can be hard to let go of it, so this number might not be surprising.

However, if you’re looking to implement modern automation systems at your hotel, there is a very real possibility that your current infrastructure won’t mesh with it.

So, what are your options?

Well, if there is no way you’re abandoning your legacy systems, you might want to consider investing in middleware solutions.

definition of middleware

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: IBM

Simply put, a middleware solution is going to act as a bridge between your existing systems and the new systems you’re looking to implement.

This way, you can integrate new automation solutions without having to completely overhaul your tech stack.

However, this is not always the best solution, as sometimes sticking with legacy systems can cause you and your bank account more harm than good.

This brings us to your second option: migrating to a completely new, all-in-one solution.

In the image below, we listed some signs that indicate it’s time to say goodbye to your old and outdated systems.

signs that a hotel should migrate to a new automation solution

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Intellisoft

Our own system, WebBookingPro, is a good example of a well-rounded solution that makes abandoning your outdated one easy.

WebBookingPro boasts many of the features you as a hotelier could need:From a booking engine that helps you increase the number of direct reservations (and, consequently, your revenue), to a channel manager that allows you to easily manage your listings across different distribution channels.

If you own a smaller property, you can even use our WBP Cloud Basic property management system free of charge.

webbookingpro products screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

However, even if you decide to stick with your existing PMS, WebBookingPro is currently fully integrated with several different ones, making it easy for you to keep all important data in sync.

While the concern about the ability of your legacy system to integrate with modern automation solutions is a valid one, it is not impossible to mitigate it.

So, if you’ve gotten your money’s worth from your existing systems, it might be time to upgrade.

Staff Resistance 

Now that we’ve discussed the financial and technological challenges of adopting new automation solutions, let’s address how your staff might feel about bringing innovation to your hotel.

According to Zipdo, “94% of hotels indicate they are ready for adopting robotics in their operations.”

On top of that, the global hospitality robots market size is projected to grow to a high $3,100 million by 2030.

global hospitality robots market size statistics

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Zipdo and Zion Market Research

With this evident rise of robotics in the hotel industry, it is no wonder that hotel employees are concerned about the future of their roles.

Are room service attendants going to become obsolete?

Is checking in at the front desk going to become a thing of the past?

These are only some of the questions that might be running through the heads of hotel employees when they hear, “We’ll get software that can do that.”

The fear of job displacement and concerns about adapting to change can hinder the adoption of technologies that are, in fact, beneficial for your employees, claims Stanislav Ivanov, who we mentioned earlier.

quote about fear of job displacement and concerns about adapting to change among hotel staff

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: Hospitality Net

The most effective way to overcome this challenge is to address it head-on.

Openly speak to your employees about the automations you intend to introduce, and make sure to emphasize the purpose behind them.

Explain that your goal is to enhance their productivity and unburden them from handling repetitive, error-prone, and time-consuming tasks, rather than replace them with machines.

Understanding how automation benefits them is going to be crucial for the successful implementation of these new technologies.

Additionally, try to involve your staff in the decision-making process.

Allow them to test out different solutions you’re considering and take their feedback into account—after all, they’re the ones that are going to be using it.

In short, present the adoption of automation as an investment that is going to benefit you all and provide your hotel with a competitive advantage.

benefits of technology for hotels

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: TRAVHOTECH

The bottom line is, implementing automation at your hotel comes with a variety of benefits for your staff.

However, you can only reap those benefits if you earn the buy-in of your employees, so make sure to nip any concerns they might have in the bud.

Guest Resistance

According to research conducted by Oracle in 2017, 64% of travelers find it important for hotels to keep investing in technology with the goal of enhancing the guest experience.

However, nearly 60% of them state that they still prefer to speak to a human being at the front desk, indicating that they don’t want technology to completely eliminate personal interactions.

statistics about the importance of personal communication at hotels

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Source: Oracle

These numbers show that, although implementing automation at your hotel is important in terms of meeting guest expectations, there is still some resistance toward a high level of automation.

For starters, many guests value having personal interactions with the staff, so introducing things like self-check-in or robots that deliver room service can lead to a diminished sense of personalization.

Add to that the fact that some might be less tech-savvy and uncomfortable with automated everything, and you might end up with dissatisfied guests.

Stephanie Fisher, Principal Owner of the Local Foreigner travel agency, states that a lot of her clients believe that the best memories are made when people connect with other people—not devices.

quote about the importance of personalized service at hotels

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: The New York Times

Aside from this, Oracle’s Hospitality in 2025 report shows that hotel guests experience privacy concerns when sharing their data with hotels, thus pushing the guests’ resistance to automation even further.

Namely, 19.5% of them report that they are “very concerned”, and an alarming 55.6% that they are “somewhat concerned” about the security of their data.

Given that providing copious amounts of sensitive data is unavoidable if the various automation tools are to work properly, this is not unusual.

So, what can you do about this resistance?

To begin with, try to maintain a healthy balance between automation and providing a personalized service.

To figure out what “balance” means for your hotel in particular, gather guest feedback regarding automation.

That way, you’ll better understand which operations your guests prefer to be automated, and which areas require human touch.

Additionally, make it clear that, even for those tasks that are automated, the assistance of your staff is still always available.

In terms of security and privacy concerns, always opt for reliable technology providers that provide a high level of guest data security.

Then, openly communicate with your guests about which pieces of their data are being collected and for which purpose.

This transparency creates a sense of trust and is bound to reduce resistance towards automation, allowing your hotel to stay on trend.

Conclusion 

While introducing automation to your hotel can be challenging, it also comes with plenty of benefits that make overcoming these challenges worth it.

Whether you’re struggling with the financial implications of investing in hotel technology, or you’re worried about how well it will fit with your existing tech stack, the good news is that there is always a solution.

Make use of free trials and demos to ensure that you’ll get your money’s worth, and always do plenty of research on the technology providers you’re considering.

When it comes to technology adoption among your employees and guests, transparency is key.

Openly communicate about the benefits of automation and support them as they adopt it.

That way, you get to elevate your hotel operations to mutual satisfaction.

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