Below, you find general technology trends in hospitality, along with tech trends that serve as a solution to the coronavirus pandemic and associated shifts in consumer behaviour.
1. Voice Search & Voice Control Voice search is growing technology trend within hospitality because a growing number of guests or customers are turning to voice search in order to find hotels, restaurants and cafes, so it is worth taking the time to properly capitalise on this. To do so, you will need to make sure your website and booking engine are structured so that the voice search can be used properly.
In some settings, demand for voice control is also growing. This could include everything from the use of smart speakers in hotel rooms, allowing for control of the various in-room devices, through to automated order taking in restaurants and cafes, meaning customers will no longer need to wait for waiting staff to take their order.
2. Contactless Payments Contactless payments offer a number of advantages for hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars and cafes, which is why this has been among the main technology trends within the hospitality industry in recent times. Aside from speeding up payments and improving customer satisfaction, contactless tech is also easily compatible with loyalty programmes.
Mobile contactless payments are possible even if customers do not have their wallet with them, or even if their credit card has been misplaced. Additionally, with COVID firmly in the minds of hotel guests and other hospitality customers, contactless payments can also offer an excellent way to reduce human-to-human contact.
3. Robots in Hotels & Restaurants One of the most exciting technology trends the hospitality industry is getting to grips with is the rise of robotics and the use of robots to carry out tasks traditionally performed by humans. For instance, robots can occupy a concierge role within hotels, welcoming guests and providing them with important customer information.
Similarly, some hotels have started to use robots for cleaning purposes, such as vacuum cleaning floors and even for germ killing. This is a practice that can be replicated across the rest of the hospitality industry too, including in restaurants, and the use of robots can also help to make an environment more COVIDsecure.
4. Chatbots Chatbots have been an emerging hospitality technology trend for several years, but the importance of this option is only growing, especially as customers now demand swift answers to questions at all times of the day. Hotels and restaurants will also often attract queries from people in different time zones, so having staff available is difficult.
A good chatbot will answer the most common questions without the need for any human involvement. In more advanced cases, the chatbot can obtain information from the customer and then pass the query on to a human staff member at the earliest opportunity, while also providing them with access to what the customer has said.
5. Virtual Reality Virtual reality is another of the major technology trends in the hospitality industry that you need to be aware of. In particular, this can make the difference at the stage when customers are ready to make a booking, because it will give potential customers a much clearer sense of what they can expect when they visit for real.
During the COVID pandemic, those working in hospitality marketing have a particularly good opportunity to capitalise on virtual reality technology and gain an edge on rivals, because it provides customers with the ability to experience elements of a hotel or to see the layout of a restaurant prior to booking.
Most modern virtual reality tour videos can be viewed within a web browser, making them easily accessible. A greater level of immersion can also be achieved if users have access to a VR headset.
6. Mobile Check-In Mobile check-in hospitality tech is another important area to give consideration to, because it can help to improve the customer experience at the point of their initial arrival. This is especially beneficial, because first impressions can have a huge bearing on how customers ultimately feel about their visit or stay.
Crucially, mobile check-ins swerve the need for face-to-face customer interactions, meaning customers can potentially have greater flexibility in terms of when they check-in. This ties in with wider contactless technology trends within the hospitality industry, and can be especially welcome for those who are nervous about COVID.
7. Recognition Technology Recognition technology is one of the most important emerging tech trends in general, but its potential uses in the hospitality industry are especially interesting. In particular, biometrics is being used to usher in a new age of seamless authentications, and this could benefit hotel processes and customer purchases.
For example, imagine if a fingerprint or facial recognition technology could be used in your hotel to unlock rooms. Now consider the uses of the same technology for check-in and check-out purposes. In the future, this technology is also likely to allow for completely seamless purchases, with payments being authenticated by touch.
8. Artificial Intelligence In the modern age, customers expect to be able to interact with hospitality companies across a variety of digital channels and receive rapid responses. Of course, actually having staff monitoring all of those channels and delivering swift responses can be difficult, if not impossible, which is where chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI) come in.
Chatbots are able to understand simple questions and provide answers almost instantaneously, taking the burden away from customer service staff and improving the experience for customers. Meanwhile, AI’s uses extend into other important areas for hotels too, including data analysis. In short: definitely a tech trend to watch out for.
9. Internet of Things (IoT) Another technological trend within hospitality management is the The ‘Internet of Things’, or IoT, involves extending internet connectivity to everyday objects, devices and appliances. These devices can then collect data and communicate or interact over the internet, turning previously unintelligent devices into ‘smart’ devices, which are often semi or fully autonomous.
An example of this already being used with the hospitality sector is internet-enabled thermostats, which are used to automatically adjust room temperatures at check-in and check-out times, or in response to temperature swings caused by the sun, or by windows being opened. The same concept is also being deployed for lighting, improving energy efficiency by, for instance, reducing light intensity during daylight hours.
10. Augmented Reality Finally, augmented reality has exploded as tech trend in a similar way to VR technology, but is even more accessible; typically requiring little more than access to a smartphone and the internet. Unlike VR, which places users in a digital environment, augmented reality is about enhancing the real-world environment through information overlays.
Again, this offers limitless potential. Imagine if your hotel provided AR-compatible wall maps, where customers can point their phone at the map and find out information about specific locations. Alternatively, how about an app, which allows users to see customer reviews of local restaurants by looking at the building through their phone?
11. Cybersecurity Finally, the increased need for cybersecurity is among the most vital technology trends in the hospitality industry. Today, hotels and restaurants are more reliant on data than ever before, and make more use of IT systems than ever before too. However, this potentially leaves them in a much more vulnerable position.
Some of the biggest threats here include ransomware attacks, phishing attacks, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and human error within the company. For this reason, hotels need to invest adequately in cybersecurity awareness training, protect their IT systems, keep customer data secure and ensure data is backed up and recoverable.
12. Big Data Data collection has grown rapidly across almost all industries, but can be used to great effect by hospitality businesses to provide more personalised experiences. As an example, it could be used by travel agents to make intelligent destination recommendations, based on age, gender, budget, previous locations visited, and so on.
Within the hotel industry, big data allows businesses to identify trends, which can be used for revenue management purposes. This allows for more data-driven approaches to pricing strategies and enables business leaders to gain a clearer understanding of current business performance and the outside influences that impact upon it.
Most-used hotel technology in 2019: basic distribution-focused systems The study found that among independent properties, the only hotel technology systems being well utilized are Internet booking engines and mobile (optimized) websites.
In both cases, 63% of respondents already had a system in place. Of the independent properties without a mobile website, 18% stated they intended to use one in the future. Similarly, 24% of properties without a booking engine responded that they planned to implement one.
Future use of hotel tech prioritizes distribution In addition to more websites and booking engines, independent properties are looking to start leveraging other distribution-related hotel technologies in the short term as well.
A fifth of respondents (20%) cited plans to integrate a mobile app into their hotel technology portfolio. An anticipated increase in the use of channel management systems (17%), revenue management systems (13%), and customer relationship management systems (13%) over the next two years should also help independent properties grow their direct business, according to the authors of the white paper.
Source : Business Blog Trivago