A 2021 Forbes article, “Winning in The Experience Economy,” stated that experience is the repository of value today. The impact of this trend now extends beyond the corporate realm. The consumerization of IT and technology has permeated travel and leisure as well. For decades, a clean room, a comfortable bed, and functional amenities were enough to satisfy most travelers. Today, expectations are evolving as our personal and digital lives increasingly intertwine. The bar has now been raised.
Imagine checking into a hotel room where the lighting adjusts to your liking, the room temperature is set to your preferred degree, and the television greets you with a personalized message. Other customized amenities could include a personalized mini bar, a suggested playlist based on your music preferences, or the perfect number of pillows for you and your partner. These are the premiums that travelers are willing to pay for today to ensure that a trip becomes a positive memory.
The growing demand for personalized travel experiences is a logical progression in today’s digital age. Just as the IT industry had to adapt to the evolving demands of its users, the hospitality sector must now pivot as well. Shaped by their digital experiences, modern travelers are looking for more than just a place to sleep. They desire a tailored stay that aligns with their individual tastes, prioritizing both comfort and a personal touch. To flourish in this experience-driven travel era, it’s imperative for the hospitality sector to embrace technology and learn how to leverage it to its maximum potential.
The Benefits of Leveraging New Technology
Like nearly every industry today, the role of technology in the hospitality and guest services industry has dramatically increased. Hotels and resorts now employ an array of technological tools, from online booking platforms and property management systems to mobile apps and in-room amenities. Fundamentally, these technologies in the hospitality sector fulfill five main objectives.
- Streamlining Operations: Technological solutions in hospitality, such as automated reservations, guest data management, and digital room service, play a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and ease staff workloads.
- Elevating Guest Experiences: Through online bookings, intuitive mobile apps, and sophisticated in-room controls, technology significantly enhances the offerings available to guests to ensure a more comfortable stay and heightened guest satisfaction level.
- Increasing Revenue Opportunities: Technology in hospitality has contributed to more precise pricing strategies and revenue management, while also spotlighting trends and potentials for strategic upselling and cross selling that drives added revenue and revenue sources.
- Strengthening Security Measures: Technological tools such as keyless entry systems and advanced surveillance equipment improve safety measures for guests, staff, and hotel premises.
- Enhancing Communication: Technology is creating new communication channels between guests and staff, as well as interdepartmental interactions. This ensures guests obtain prompt and precise information or assistance, elevating their overall experience at the hotel.
Technology Trends Revolutionizing The Hospitality Industry
Automation of Backend System Operations
The premise is simple. By automating as many of its backend operations as possible, hospitality organizations can ensure that the touch points their guests interact with are prioritized. By implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA), organizations can rely on robots to execute repetitive tasks and to perform them faster and with greater consistency than their human counterparts. Delegation of routine, repetitive tasks to robots allows staff to devote more time to forging genuine connections with guests and providing the unique human touch that is so central to hospitality.
Here are some examples of how RPA can be leveraged:
- Robotic process automation (RPA) can be used to automate financial reporting systems and billing processes. RPA can extract data from disparate systems from different locations and consolidate it into a centralized system to ensure consistency. RPA can handle the end-to-end process of accounts payable from invoice receipt to payment execution.
- RPA can simplify payroll processes for organizations with employees that work on gratuities. Here, RPA can automatically extract and consolidate data from Point of Sale (POS) systems to identify transactions that include gratuities. In the case of pooled tip scenarios, AI algorithms can distribute tips based on predefined rules. The algorithm can even be trained to adjust distributions to accommodate specific events. Unusual anomalies or discrepancies in tip allocation can be flagged for further review.
- RPA can automatically reorder supplies when they reach a certain threshold while AI can forecast demand for various items, optimize stock levels, and even adjust orders to take advantage of pricing opportunities.
Incorporating RPA and AI streamlines operational efficiency for hotels and resort properties. Simultaneously, these technologies help hospitality businesses provide more efficient service and personalized experiences for their guests.
Intelligent Guest Data Management
Amazon’s success is a direct result of their innate understanding of their customers. By anticipating products customers may desire in the future, they provide an exceptionally personalized experience. RPA can consolidate guest data from multiple sources and ensure it is consistently updated and synchronized accordingly. AI algorithms can then predict guest preferences to not only personalize their current lodging or travel experience but suggest future experiences as well. Data can also be used to optimize housekeeping schedules and other hotel operations that pertain to guest activity.
Chatbox and Virtual Assistant Integration
The strides made in Natural Language Processing (NLP) have substantially boosted the capability of chatbots and virtual assistants. These advancements enable these tools to comprehend, process, and articulate human language in a manner that resonates with users. Incorporating chatbots and virtual assistants into guest services offers several notable benefits:
- Multilingual Support: This is especially imperative for hospitality organizations that cater to an international clientele. Studies have shown that most people prefer to buy products with information in their native language. Chatbots can be programmed to communicate in multiple languages to cater to a diverse demographic.
- Scalability: Chatbots can easily scale up during peak times to handle an absorbent number of queries from guests far more effectively than human-only support.
- Consistency: With chatbots, guests receive standardized, predictable responses, ensuring uniformity in guest experience.
- Live Chat Flexibility: While chatbots can provide instant answers to FAQ from guests, you can incorporate a seamless handoff system that connects guests with a staff member for more complex support.
Over time, not only can chatbots and virtual assistants lead to significant cost savings, but they also free up staff to focus on tasks that genuinely benefit from human touch. Given the rising familiarity and comfort with virtual assistants like Alexa, many guests not only accept but also appreciate the enhanced experience they provide.
While these technological advancements are impressive, they represent just the tip of the iceberg. Innovations like contactless check-in and payment, QR code-integrated menus for tableside ordering, and immersive augmented reality experiences improve operational efficiency for hospitality entities and set them apart from the competition. As technology continues to evolve and play a pivotal role in our daily lives, industries of all types, including hospitality, will need to adapt, offering personalized experiences that cater to the modern consumer’s heightened expectations.
Revolutionize your hospitality business by leveraging the latest technology. Contact Xcelacore today to get started.Contact Us