The only constant is change. As cliché as that may sound, it is a well-established truth. Every industry evolves, and with it, evolves the need for advanced technologies to meet its business goals.
Hospitality has realized that technology is not just useful but essential. Thus, it is moving its focus from property updates in aesthetics to technological upgrades that drive customer satisfaction through personalization. Guests today look for more tech-powered, mobile-centric, personalized services. They expect technology at their fingertips through the day suitably aligned with their devices. And, there are a few key technologies for hotels that answer this need.
These technologies have gained momentum in this last year. So it is worth paying attention to what’s presently hot and happening in this landscape. The hospitality industry should definitely include one or more of these key technologies for hotels in their budgeting decisions.
- Artificial intelligence and chatbots
Personalization and instant gratification are crucial to providing great customer experience in hotels today. AI provides the same, seamlessly. Instant messaging is now the preferred means of communication – even where customer support is concerned. Thereby, hotels need to change their communication techniques to match this preference.
Chatbots are the new concierge. They provide instant answers, offer recommendations and personalized services. In other words, they introduce ease and efficiency to the guest experience. Chatbots offer simple, instant and profitable interaction with customers and also control sales.
Hotel chatbots can also come as a huge relief to your front desk. They answer customer queries, thus freeing your staff for other useful applications. And in case your chatbot comes across a particularly complex question, it can always pass it on to a human to carry forward the conversation. It’s a win-win situation for both the customer as well as the hotel.
- Workforce management software
Staff scheduling is a time-consuming task. However, you can bid goodbye to tired spreadsheets and welcome cloud-based solutions that are easily managed and accessible from any device. This key technology for hotels also offers control over, and actionable insights into the employees’ activities. It thereby greatly enhances strategic focus at managerial level.
Other benefits include forecasting workloads, resources, and budgets for each department. This allows managers to plan accordingly, integrate with other business applications like payroll systems, help management teams identify problems in real time, develop timely solutions, etc. Obviously, there are substantial savings per employee through the use of automated workforce management software.
- Cloud-based Hotel Property Management System
The cloud revolution is taking over all industries. It has become one of the key technologies for hotels as well. An increasing number of hotels are switching from traditional or legacy systems to the cloud-based Hotel Property Management System.
This is especially valuable because it allows you to access and perform various operational tasks remotely, from any device. Mobile apps have further simplified things by helping hoteliers manage everything from room bookings, billings, inventory and payments to more, via their mobile phones. Deployment is also faster and easier, taking a few days which include the training period.
Unlike the legacy system, a cloud-based PMS for hotels can seamlessly integrate with other solutions that are also on cloud. These include Business Intelligence, Email Marketing tools, Channel Managers etc. However, one of the most compelling arguments for switching to a cloud-based hotel PMS – apart from the obvious improvement in operational efficiency – is data security.
- Beacon technology
To provide a satisfying guest experience, hotels must understand and anticipate the needs of each guest. To offer this level of personalized service, you could access customer data from mobile check-ins, loyalty programs, online bookings, and past spending habits. Or, you could invest in one of the key technologies for hotels like the beacon technology. This offers insights into guest preferences that will also help you market more effectively to each guest.
The beacon, a small, location-based sensor, may be placed anywhere in the hotel. Hotel guests can receive messages through their smartphone’s Bluetooth. These messages, in real time, provide a great way to engage with guests and make their stay more relevant and personal.
Benefits for guests lie in mobile check-ins, enhanced in-room services, availing special offers and loyalty programs of the hotel, gaining information about hotel services, events etc. They could also be informed of events outside the hotel. The hotel benefits from this technology through a more personalized engagement with guests, thereby improving their experience, creating new revenue channels and up-selling opportunities, obtaining data analytics in real time, and identifying profit centers in the hotel, to name a few.
- RFID technology
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) refers to digital data – encoded as RFID tags, being captured by a reader through radio waves. In hotels, this is a major component of a keyless entry system. Through RFID-enabled rooms, managers can obtain information on vacant and occupied rooms across the world. This information extends to include, in real time, when the rooms will become vacant. Also, which days they have been booked for, thereby helping to streamline the room booking management process. It is also an excellent technology for fast and accurate inventory management, providing valuable insight into asset utilization patterns across the hotel.
RFID assists in vehicle management, helping hotels keep track of their fleet of vehicles. When integrated with other software, it could also trigger the opening of the gate, after vehicle identification. This also serves as an entry log that can be used for security purposes.
Cutting edge technology can reap huge benefits for early adopters. In fact, the new generation of tech-savvy guests necessitates the use of such key technologies for hotels. It is this that will help set them apart from those that are still on the fence about adopting such technologies.