As the global hospitality industry evolves, the hospitality sectors follow several technological developments to enhance the guest experience. However, going after modern technologies is not enough to build customer loyalty and stay in the game in this day and time. In addition to following the trends closely, innovation in the hospitality industry is vital. Venues such as hotels, bars, restaurants, and pubs are often open to building or rebuilding, if necessary, their businesses in new and innovative ways that will encompass the latest technology, as highlighted below, ensuring a rich guest experience.
AI-powered customer service:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has altered guests’ experience at several venues in numerous ways. The extensive use of chatbot messaging services are the number one demonstrator of the shift towards integrating the most up-to-date technology venues at the earliest stage. Several business owners in the hospitality industry, such as Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment, prefer the AI-powered customer service. Chatbots provide customers with a preview of the vision of the hotel that they will visit. At the same time, it helps hotels with their task management. Most of the time, frequently asked questions by guests are alike and can be addressed quickly by the hotel staff. With the use of AI, big data, and with the help of data algorithms, many leading players in the hospitality business aim at redefining the current service standards. Guests receive relevant and quick responses to their questions, and hotels can direct their staff towards more urgent tasks to improve the guest experience.
The increasing role of purpose-built technologies to enhance hospitality services
Providing taxi services for customers is an indispensable component of the hospitality industry. As customer needs evolve, so does the complexity of providing satisfactory experiences. One cannot even imagine a hotel where there is no available taxi service for the guests. For a long time, this has been the responsibility of the concierge or the front desk, among various other services they provided. Today, venue butler comes to the rescue: this one-click device, built for a taxi booking purpose only, allows venues to order multiple taxis during rush hours with just one push of a button.
This hassle-free and efficient device is already available at numerous hotels, restaurants, and bars across the United Kingdom, many European countries and the United States. It also provides special needs, such as giving wheel-chair friendly vehicles from trustworthy taxi companies. The device seamlessly contributes & complements the guest’s service experience, enabling the concierge and receptions to focus on other more essential priority services.
Contactless guest experience
In the past, welcoming guests, helping them with the check-in process, and having the traditional butler assisting guests with their luggage could help hotels earn extra points. Today, however, making time is much more critical for customers. Many consider the check-in process at the reception a waste of time and prefer handling it themselves and finding all the necessary information they will need during their stay online. With the online check-in possibilities comes the freeze on the standard room keys. According to the research from Openkey, keyless entry into hotel rooms leads to an overall 7 per cent increase in guest satisfaction.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a significant factor in the tourism and hotel industry, enabling new business approaches. Although various industries are already benefiting from the Internet of Things, the hospitality industry is already leading the way to IoT investment. This ever-growing network of connected devices communicates with a central server as well as with each other. Adaptation to AI and modern technology, justifiably, has become a significant investment area for hotel owners.
Driven mainly by the increasing use of the Internet of Things (IoT) networks that allow customers to have control over any electronic and technological device in their rooms, such as the television and the air conditioner and even the lights, the ‘smart’ global hospitality market growth is expected to double, to $12.727 billion by the year 2025.
In addition to providing an overall improved and safer experience for the guests, these systems help hotels to operate more efficiently. These solutions will contribute to a seamless guest experience tomorrow as they do today. With the pandemic’s continuing effects on our lives, the significance of such technologies will increase exponentially.
AI-integrated housekeeping services
According to a recent Washington Post article, robots to disinfect hotel rooms during the pandemic is the tip of a hospitality revolution. In the post-pandemic era, the cleaning of the hotel rooms concentrated on high-contact points such as door handles, faucets, light switches, and furniture.
Major brands such as Hilton and Marriott are already using electrostatic sprayers and ultraviolet light technology. The most recent cleaning solutions integrated with AI technology and robots provide a safer environment for guests and employees to connect.
Room service at its best by robots
Several hotels have already introduced robots to manage repetitive tasks like room service deliveries, entertaining guests, including giving directions, thus enhancing the guest experience and improving efficiency.
Robots’ room services are becoming very popular among travellers, as they help personalize a guest’s stay. Customers who call for room service and ask for an extra toothbrush, pillow, or some mid-night snacks in a five-star Silicon Valley hotel can be greeted by a robot when they open the door.
“The 100-pound, 3-foot-tall Savioke robot, dubbed Relay, is built primarily to deliver extra towels, toothpaste, or other necessities to guest rooms. The hotel staff punches in a room number on the robot’s touch screen, and Relay rolls into the elevator and up to the designated room,” Los Angeles Times about the cutting-edge technology applied in -for now- a few hotels in the US.
Up in the clouds: Moving hotel operations to ‘the cloud’
According to a Lodging Technology Study from 2015, 22 per cent of the surveyed hotels believed that migrating on-premises technology to the Cloud has become a top priority. On-premise PMS investment dipped from 17 per cent in 2014 to 14 per cent in 2015.
Although Cloud technology has been around for quite some time by now, many hotel managements have been reluctant to carry their operations to the Cloud system. In light of the above-mentioned modern technologies’ spread and after the pandemic, many small to medium-scale hotel managers noticed the significance of integrating Cloud technology in their systems and moving hotel operations, especially the hotel property management system, to the Cloud offers operational benefits and leads to a higher return of investment.
As the world continuously evolves, and so does the innovations aimed at improving human existence. The trends mentioned above have already revolutionized the hospitality industry – and they will continue to redefine guest experience and streamline operations. As the industry is highly competitive, maintaining the course of the latest technology trends in the hospitality industry is crucial as customer expectations and requirements are continually shifting.
Author: Thomas Kruyne, Managing Director Venue Butler