The role of technology in just about every sector has rapidly advanced in the last few years. The same can be said for the hospitality industry. Without proper connectivity and integrated systems, most hotels, restaurants and pubs would struggle to survive in today’s world.
We’re taking a look at the biggest trends in technology for those working in hospitality and how they can change the way you operate. By being aware of these trends, you’ll know how to make full use of them and ensure your business benefits.
1. Contactless Payment Options
With the spread of COVID-19 in the last year, contactless payment options have become a number one selling point for the hospitality and retail industries. Where before there was an almost unhealthy suspicion about these payment options, people are now happy to not have to touch the bill or have someone else touch their credit card.
There are many ways to go contactless for payments. Tap-and-go credit card machines that don’t require pins are an option, or you can go for smartphone apps that scan QR codes to make payments. In the wearables market, many smartwatches have payment options, so people don’t even have to get their phone or wallet out.
2. Voice Control
Voice search has become a massive technology trend for people in their everyday lives. We have a voice activated search function on our computers, smartphones, smartwatches and smart home devices.
If you run a hotel, B&B, Airbnb or other guest accommodation, it might be time to consider including some smart functionality in your rooms. You can implement this tech so that guests can play music, open the curtains, turn the lights on and off, order room service and search for local attractions during their stay.
3. Service Automation
Moving on from that point, automating the way guests are serviced is a great tech trend because it will free up your staff to focus on the details. We’re not saying you should shy away with the personal touch of welcoming guests at the door or ensuring that food or drinks are served with a smile.
However, setting up an automated option for ordering off the menu in a restaurant or pub, or requesting a wake-up call or a taxi from the hotel reception are all options. The process for guests will be a lot quicker and easier. Plus, your staff can pay attention to the details of great service if they aren’t rushed off their feet placing the orders.
4. Mobile Apps For Guests And Staff
A lot can be and does get done while on the go these days. Creating a mobile app that lets your staff do more while they are moving between tasks will definitely improve your overall workflow and productivity.
When it comes to guests, having a mobile app that they can download gives you so much more in terms of opportunities to connect. Your reach will go on long before and after they visit – whether you’re a hotel, a pub, a restaurant or any other part of the hospitality industry. This is because your presence will stay on their smartphones and give you a chance to market special deals or boost your standing through a loyalty programme.
5. Tech Hubs
The absolute minimum that guests in travel accommodation and patrons in a coffee shop or restaurant expect these days is decent free WiFi and a power point. Today, consumers are expecting so much more – from quiet spaces for working to access to smart screens and full-on tech centres.
6. Analytics And Social Listening
Brands have known for years now that there is a cornucopia of data on the internet that is waiting to be mined and used to improve the way they operate. It’s essential for businesses in the hospitality industry to be making use of this data because what people think of your establishment will dramatically impact your business.
The more connected your business is to your guests or patrons, the more information you can glean from how they interact with you and your staff. You can compare this data with what’s being said about you on social media and on opinion websites to get a full picture of the public sentiment.
7. Virtual Reality
VR has come so much further than a gimmick that looks futuristic. People are using it all the time to explore places that they can’t get to in person or to test-drive new venues or experiences.
Even if you’re marketing to a local audience and aiming to drum up support in your neighbourhood, using VR can give you the edge. It makes you stand out from the competition and highlights just how forward-thinking your brand is.
8. Biometric Recognition
Fingerprint scanners and facial recognition technology is everywhere and in everyday use. In the accommodation industry especially, this technology can be used to operate room doors rather than keys that can be lost or stolen. It can also be used for seamless checking in and out.
Not only do biometrics solve the age-old key issue, they also add an extra layer of security. This technology allows you to monitor access, and keep tabs on cleaning staff and the times they spend servicing each room.
9. Artificial Intelligence And IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of those terms that seems part of science fiction, but it really is part of life now. It’s basically how appliances and devices are all connected to the internet, allowing smartphones to communicate with fridges and heating systems to communicate with the lights. For example, you can set your thermostat to kick on in time to make the rooms in your restaurant just right for opening time.
Another option is that you can schedule blinds to shut when the sun swings round to one side of your hotel and for occupied rooms to have the lights slowly go on.
With all of this new connectivity comes a very real threat of hackers. The hospitality industry is now storing far more data about their business and customers than ever before. This data is being stored in places that hackers can reach if they try hard enough or the security isn’t good enough. It’s essential to ensure that your cybersecurity is up to scratch and your guests or patrons are safe.
A regular audit of your systems and software and educating staff on the dangers of phishing, scams and other risks is essential in today’s technologically-driven climate.
The application of technology in the hospitality industry can be a game-changer. When used for good, it can give your business the edge, make it more marketable, and streamline operations on every level.
This article is written by Melony Forcier, a 20-year-old journalist from Boston, MA. Writing is her first love but she also has a great affinity for anything chocolate, pugs, and cheese boards.