In our second blog on hotel technology trends, we took a quick look at the technologies in use and how these can help increase revenue while creating a favorable impression on the minds of the guest. Let’s take a deeper look at latest technology in the hospitality industry and how these can be used to improve revenue.
Have you noticed these emerging technology trends in hospitality industry yet?
The hospitality trends for 2018 has seen a new digital wave taking over the hotel industry. While it may not be feasible for you to adopt every hotel industry trend for technology mentioned below, it will empower you to have a greater understanding of what lies ahead.
The Hype around Data
There are huge amounts of data collection happening via mobile bookings, guest reviews, the internet search engines and even a cloud-based PMS as integrated by the hotel. The key here lies in understanding and prioritizing data. Data collected and analyzed properly will help a hotel to boost guest experiences and increase revenues. For hoteliers, being able to store and analyze such huge amount of data enables them to have a competitive edge when it comes to taking vital decision pertaining the business.
The use of predictive analytics is one of the most important ways to increase hotel revenue. Before we proceed, let’s try to simplify this.
What if you could predict which item on the menu card sells faster during the Christmas vacations?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could send tailor-made updates via emails, SMSs to customers based on their preferences? For e.g.: A spa coupon can be targeted particularly for guests who have used this service in your hotel earlier. It empowers hoteliers to make informed decisions by understanding what kind of problems they may face tomorrow.
Investing in the right kind of technology in hospitality industry will help you to be prepared and improve a hotel’s management in all aspects. For e.g. any hotel that includes multiple POS outlets needs to focus on providing a personalized service to their guests. This will ensure you have a higher chance of getting repeat customers. Any data that helps you to understand a guests’ preference is considered to be the best use of data. Guests are interested in knowing about the choices relevant to them rather than looking at a plethora of choices. Technology will be helpful to suggest which guest is suitable for any specific promotion, offers, and discounts. Usage of this information gives a holistic view into the customer’s requirements.
Hoteliers, marketers, advertisers have been struggling to grab attention of customers in this competitive market. This is when virtual reality brings a massive change to the way properties are advertised and customers are informed. This is going beyond images, text, and audio-visual ads. You can use virtual reality to give the guest a view of the conference room, amenities, guest rooms and even offer a quick trip to interesting locations nearby. Virtual reality for the hotel industry allows guests to make better decisions by knowing what to expect during their stay. It’s important to use this technology to tell an engaging story to ensure guests enjoy the experience and give preference to your hotel over others.
Chatbots and Robotics
Chatbots feature as one of the continuing hospitality trends for 2018. Chatbots have already taken over the basic tasks that save time and improve efficiency for professionals. Chatbots are helping to enhance communication and provide guests with quick answers to their queries online. The basic questions asked on a hotel’s website such as “What is the menu of the day?” can be answered with the use of chatbots. Chatbots help to automate responses and act as an important channel of communication between the guest and the hotel.
Some leading names in the hotel industry have already started deploying robots. These are useful in various departments such as to play the role of a virtual concierge or even at the front desk. The fascination of robotics continues this year as this largely brings down costs and offers service 24X7. The interaction between the robot and the guests assists hoteliers to analyze cognitive behavior to understand guests’ preferences, and more.
Beacons and Augmented Reality
In the fast-evolving technology landscape, beacons bring with it multiple opportunities to improve revenue and is a popular technology in hospitality industry. These augmented reality technologies are used to communicate with devices such as tablets and smartphones. Beacons are effective in pushing an offer to a customer’s smartphone device for indoor locations such as a hotel lobby. Hotels can use the beacon technology to help guests navigate across the hotel and speed up services for guest requests (e.g. extra towels, or request for food). It’s also useful to send automatic notifications to a smartphone and personalize services (e.g: notification that enables a guest to control temperature of the room). Other benefits include automated check-in and check-out service and safety maintenance of large hotel premises. Beacons use low-energy Bluetooth connections to send across information to the chosen device such as sending a virtual key that makes unlocking doors so easy with just a smartphone in hand!
Augmented reality is one of the popular hospitality industry trends that is indeed a powerful tool for hotel owners. This technology alters or enhances the way a guest perceives the physical surroundings. Hotel owners can enhance the physical space they are selling with AR. Rooms are now interactive (e.g. guests could use their smartphone to see realistics depictions of celebrities at Holiday Inn.) and guests can even point their smartphones to to a map to view information related to local places of interest. The Hub Hotel from Premier Inn (UK) used AR by placing such maps in all its hotel rooms.
This technology can make things a lot easier for hotel owners. While there’s a whole lot of excitement happening around this new technology in hotel industry, experts warn to avoid getting carried away with all the hype. It’s evident the technology has shaken up the system, but the buzz in travel and hospitality continues with big players opting to deploy the use of the same. Nordic Choice hotels are toying the blockchain distribution idea that may shed light whether this technology will indeed be helpful for the industry.
Simply put, blockchain is a growing list of records. These records, also named as blocks are “transactions” records. The Harvard Business Review defines it as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way.” Blockchain for the hotel industry claims to make this data accessible while providing hotel owners with ample opportunities for their room distribution. This open access distributed ledger of a hotel’s inventory will give the flexibility to hotel owners to discover more options. Faced with the challenge of commissions by OTAs, blockchain brings with it a ray of hope for hotel owners.
Embrace the Hotel Technology Trends
When any new technology in hospitality industry arrives on the scene, it brings with it the need to implement a plan to make your hotel staff comfortable with the changes. Your focus should be on a smooth transition that should make it easy to convey all the changes in the existing system without hampering their daily tasks. Any change is bound to bring about a new set of worries, anxiety and self-doubt. This is perfectly natural but should not act as a deterrent for change.
Questions you need to ask yourself:
The use of hotel technology should solve your existing problems, enable you to serve guests better in order to increase revenue. These questions should give you a basic idea of what you need, what to expect and how it can be a game changer.
1) Does the new technology reduce workload in different departments?
2) Can it help to personalize tasks such as check-ins? Can it enhance the service?
3) Does it allow your teams to meet the targets faster, and achieve more in the process?
4) Can your housekeeping, front desk, restaurant managers coordinate without the need for constant communication or updates?
5) Are the upgrades easily available?
6) Does the technology upgrade simplify your daily tasks and add to the bottomline?
Once you understand the requirements, advantages, and the benefits, you will find it easier to integrate new tools and technologies to transform the way your hotel runs. It’s important to have your strategies and plans in place before you make the change.
What according to you is the most important hotel technology that will grab the headlines this year? What do you foresee as the future trends in hospitality industry? Drop in your comments below.