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Why the hospitality sector must adopt new technologies – DIGIT.FYI

Richard Drummond
With the CO2 crisis impacting supply of carbonated drinks to pubs, and staff shortages causing disruption within the hospitality sector – which accounts for 8.6% of Scotland’s jobs – it feels like it could be the perfect storm for hoteliers and business owners in the lead up to Christmas.
Many industry professionals are wondering how they are expected to stay afloat following what has already been an incredibly challenging couple of years. However, all is not lost.
The adoption of new technologies will play a key role not only in the survival of the industry as it recovers, but in how it will thrive moving forward.
Business owners must explore new innovations and recognise tech’s potential not just to assist with online bookings or table service, but to enhance the guest experience, streamline operations, manage post-Covid-19 protocols, and improve communication between staff and guests.
Covid-19 has inflicted numerous challenges upon the hospitality sector; however, it has also been a time for companies to innovate and adopt new systems. Not out of want, but out of necessity.
Hoteliers have been forced to adopt automated methods to keep both guests and staff safe in recent months, but as we come out of the pandemic, the numerous benefits of these methods cannot be ignored.
Hospitality tech does not start and end with food and drink ordering, can also streamline daily operational services such as housekeeping, cleaning and hygiene procedures to enable front desk teams to check room status, assign housekeepers, and record notes, along with managing maintenance issues, lost property, and suppliers all in one place.
Communication is key to the smooth running of any business or organisation, but in the hospitality industry where many venues are large and staff can be dispersed, technology can play an essential role in facilitating communication.
Sophisticated communication platforms are used by many businesses to allow different departments and members of staff to respond to colleagues more efficiently.
By providing a way for staff to stay connected with real-time updates of work completed, and the ability to track any guest requests on a single platform, operations can run a lot more smoothly, resulting in a more engaged workforce.
But don’t be mistaken, it isn’t just staff who need to stay connected, hospitality businesses can also improve the guest experience by making it easier to access all of the information they might need at the touch of a button.
For example, by utilising new software, guests can access reservation details, restaurant opening times, and room service via a text message or app, which is easier, more convenient, and ultimately saves both the guest, and the staff, valuable time.
A workplace can only be as efficient as those who work there, and every business owner knows how important collaboration and teamwork are to enable the smooth day to day running of a company.
Today’s technology can enable the consistent, fluid flow of information which improves productivity and means that staff can spend more of their time creating memorable experiences for guests.
If you are operating with reduced staff, think carefully about where technology can be best employed.
Clear examples of where it might increase productivity in hotels or restaurants are using property management systems, channel managers, or point-of-sale systems to reduce the number of hours spent on overseeing these processes manually.
New software can alleviate management from hours spent on admin, instead allowing them to spend more time providing an experience worth talking about. For customer-centric businesses like hotels, this is ideal.
Most airports now allow passengers to check in online or go to kiosks where they can check in themselves and print out baggage tags without needing the help of staff.
In many fast-food restaurants, customers can place their orders and pay via a tablet or kiosk. In cinemas, they can buy or collect tickets at a digital kiosk. The pattern remains the same in hospitality: customers want a check-in experience that is as quick and painless as possible.
With contactless hospitality apps becoming more and more prevalent, guests are beginning to expect the same kind of seamless, technology-driven, contactless experience from both hotels and restaurants.
Guests no longer see the need to stand in a queue or have to leave their room to make an order or enquiry, so whether it’s checking in at an automated kiosk by scanning a QR code or ordering room service on a tablet, customers want the easiest and smoothest experience possible. Technology allows this to happen.
Today’s consumers crave convenience. They want everything to be easy and within a metaphorical arm’s reach and hotel guests are no different.
Many hotels have created guest apps where customers are provided with useful information such as nearby entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, medical facilities and more inside an app. Guest messaging also allows them to connect with the hotel through SMS messages or online chat rooms.
It is also important to note that the pandemic has had a particularly strong impact on contactless payment technology and mobile check-ins. It has accelerated many consumer behaviours, especially with regards to hygiene.
People are now used to systems that minimise direct human-to-human contact, leaving guests feeling assured that everything is being done to preserve their health and safety, which has never been higher on the priority list than it is now.
Utilising tech to reassure guests that their wellbeing is being considered is a sure-fire way to encourage repeat visits, particularly with the backdrop of Covid-19.
Despite staff shortages, Covid regulations and the CO2 crisis, one thing that has not changed over the last two years is the levels of service that customers expect. That’s why it is critical to not only keep track of the latest technology trends, but to get ahead of the game.
By doing so, business owners can gain a competitive edge, enabling them to win new business instead of being left behind.
As new trends emerge and technology becomes more widely used, convenience is becoming an increasingly important factor for consumers when selecting a holiday venue.
The reason why contactless payments and mobile check-ins have grown in popularity is as simple as this: they cut waiting times.
So, if competitors are offering heightened convenience to customers, don’t run the risk of losing out by failing to stay ahead of the game.
The process of digital transformation and the need for organisational change will be key themes at the upcoming Digital Transformation Summit on 28th October.
Now in its sixth year, the Summit has established itself as Scotland’s largest annual conference focussed on digitalisation and organisational change.
For more information on how to register a free place visit:
Richard Drummond
COO of Hop Software
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