Open Innovation is Making an Impact in the Hotel Industry

Published Feb-05-18

A new kind of hotel room service that offers locally-sourced food around the clock, paid for via a state-of-the-art payment system.

Park Inn by Radisson, United Kingdom

The Story:

Open Innovation is Making an Impact in the Hotel Industry Hotels like businesses in all other industries face numerous challenges and have to innovate to improve their offerings, gain a competitive advantage and thrive. Standing still is rarely if ever a good option.

One way that some hotels are innovating is by opening up the innovation process to customers as well as members of staff at all levels. For some, it is no longer just up to top management, designers and marketers to come up with novel concepts and services.

Open Innovation Platform

Park Inn by Radisson in Manchester in the UK is one such hotel that has embraced open innovation to help deliver memorable experiences for its guests. The senior team has set up a global program called the INNovation Room, a space where some of the rising stars in the hotel and hospitality industry can work on their novel ideas.

The way it works is that Park Inn by Radisson invites several hotel management schools to participate in a three-day event in Manchester. It is an immersion in the hotel's brand and thinking as well as a hub of innovation where they can develop their initial innovation concepts. A total of nine international hospitality schools took part in the inaugural 2016 event and among them were the School of Hospitality Administration, Boston University, USA, the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University, USA and the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne from Switzerland.

Concept Development

At the end of the event, students were given feedback on their raft of ideas from the INNovation Room panel and returned to their home countries to work on just one of them which had to be delivered by a set date. These were showcased on a dedicated webpage and voted on by members of the public. The two concepts that received the most votes went forward to the final stage of the open innovation competition where the judges selected the overall winner.

Ultimate Winner

And in 2016 that was a team from Cornell University for their 'Palette' concept which offers a room service alternative with healthy, locally-sourced food that is ready to eat and available 24 hours a day. It uses a state-of-the-art payment system with label sensor tags to charge guestrooms directly. Their submission was accompanied by a 40-page business plan proving a two-year return on investment.

Greater Adoption of Open Innovation Models

Some argue that when it comes to innovation, the hotel industry is lagging behind. Yet all over the world, there are designers and disruptors bursting with creativity and imagination who are trying to get their hotel ideas off the ground. With the increasing success of open innovation models and approaches, these innovators should find hoteliers a more receptive audience as more of them take advantage of the ingenuity of external smarts.

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