We will need hotels until virtual reality becomes sufficiently sophisticated. So how is technology going to help this dream come true?
FREMONT, CA: To deliver what guests need, the hotels must possess both solid technological and physical infrastructures. However, hospitality is experiencing a technology gap, and the speed of innovation adoption remains restricted. Even the widespread technology like guest self-check-in desks, mobile bookings, and RFID hotel key cards have failed to change the guest experience or marking a significant technology breakthrough.
The hospitality industry is facing challenges like low margins and high technology deployment costs, antiquated legacy technology systems and a franchise model that does not promote technology rollout. These problems slow down innovation and technology adoption. Hotels are facing problems in catching up with the other industries.
However, challenges also bring opportunities. Thoughtful implementation of technology can enhance guest experiences and can help the hotel brands keep pace with the transforming culture and business environment. There are four key areas which hold great potential:
1. Employing artificial intelligence and big data
Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be deployed in several ways in the hospitality industry. Revenue management has always been a strategic part of hotel operations. AI helps in analyzing data sets on factors such as event information, guest segmentation and behavior, and even weather patterns that help inform predictive yield management systems. Besides, data derived from on-property behavior and digital interactions will accelerate the utilization of customer relationship management (CRM) and loyalty tools. Also, it will enable the hospitality firm to facilitate loyalty, maximize brand advocacy and provide a proper understanding of the travelers’ requirements and aspirations.
The AI-powered identification systems and face recognition software will help in establishing a more secure check-in/check-out process. The AI has enabled chatbots and virtual travel assistants to become more visible, which deliver beyond the tasks like ordering room service or receiving information on the flight. This technology is emerging to become a true virtual assistant and concierge services across the traveler’s journey like ordering tickets to a show etc.
2. Designing intelligent buildings
The process of designing intelligent buildings starts during design and constructions, through the chosen technology-ready and green building systems and characteristics. It continues with the amalgamation of the buildings’ operating system, which ensures that point-of-sale, project management, computerized reservation systems, maintenance work order systems, labor management tools, and accounting software all work together.
The blend of business intelligence and analytics help in analyzing guest’s online activity before and after the stay. This empowers the hotels to comprehend guest behavior as they can easily track the guest, for instance, where the guest is going out for dinner. This helps in gaining perspective on why they didn’t choose the hotel’s restaurant. It also helps in tracking the habits of repeat guests to provide them with a room according to their taste or keep a check on the flow of people in a convention hotel for optimizing retail locations in the building.
3. Being hospitable in an automated world
Technology in the hospital industry helps in making the hotels more environment-friendly, secure, and profitable while enhancing the human experience instead of replacing it. AI-enabled technology deployment empower hotels to free up hotel staff from mundane and redundant tasks and enable them to devote their precious time to the work that needs more attention.
4. Introduction of robotics to reduce labor cost pressures
The labor costs are continuously increasing nationally, and the job of outsourcing has become nearly impossible. Besides, moving to cheaper labor markets overseas is also not easy. Thus, hospitality is facing a significant labor issue which can be only resolved by automation.
The factories and warehouses are being automated, and more households are utilizing robots to perform household tasks. Hotels can be further automated right from the front desk operations to the house-keeping. The hotels can deploy technologies like self-check-in kiosks, automated kitchen prep, robot room-service delivery, optimized preventive maintenance plans, and automated room and public area cleaning devices.
Thus, AI-powered technology has many benefits. However, technology should be viewed as a complementary operational strategy. Besides, social human interaction should remain the very center and underlying foundation of an enterprise driven by offering excellent service and providing unique and customized experiences.