At what point did your guests decide that having an HD television in their hotel room was no longer enough to fulfil their needs? Now, they want to control the in-room heating, message the hotel staff, see the restaurant menu and order room service from their smartphone. Internet and technology made consumer’s expectations grow.
According to Oracle Hospitality, 64% of U.S hotel guests said that it is “very or extremely important” for hotels to continue investing in technology to enhance the guest experience. Innovations allow hotel operators to stand out from the competition, satisfy guest expectations and attract new ones.
Each new technological development and scientific advancement is making the world we live in growing increasingly smaller and smaller. Technology, whether we like it or not has changed our world — indeed, it has revolutionized the way we plan our vacations. There can only be a few areas that have been transformed by technology quite the same way as travel.
In the last 20 years, we have seen technology impacting the travel industry more than it has in the former 100 years. No one can imagine travelling without access to Google Maps, Flight Booking Platforms or Review Blogs. Technology made it much more affordable and comfortable — we have access to virtually anything at our fingertips.
The hospitality industry is a dynamic environment in an everlasting state of movement and progression. To be successful, in today’s landscape, one must be open to using a wide variety of tech-disruptive tools to ensure satisfaction and approval in both leisure and business travellers. With the help of technology and efficient hotel marketing, the travel and hospitality industry reached more people than ever before and as a result, travellers are younger, better informed and more tech-savvy. It also made the two industries to not only step into the 21st century but to embrace it unreservedly.
This post will focus on 5 current tech tendencies which are shaping the hospitality industry:
Social media and review websites
Social media has drastically changed the relationship between guests and hoteliers. There, guest and prospect guests can share experiences with one-another and exchange information about several aspects of the hotel such as: room rates or amenities. Furthermore, social media allows visitors to rate the hotel and post reviews online. Whenever people think of going away to a certain place, the first thing they do is to read the reviews about it. They can be considered really convenient and play a huge role for people to decide where to stay, what restaurants to go, places to visit, transportation and attractions. It might seem like reviews are only important for travellers but that is not true, they have created a competitive market for hotels — they raised the standards of travel.
Hotels ought to work even harder to exceed expectations and resolve service problems as they occur. The threat of a bad social media review became a highly powerful tool for the visitor.
At the moment, VR is one of the hottest buzzwords in the hospitality industry. The increasing accessibility of virtual reality creates new marketing and branding opportunities for hotels. It creates the possibility of offering cutting-edge ways to engage with the modern customer. VR became a replacement of the traditional brochures, hotels can offer more immersive experiences like 360º videos or VR presentations which provide a more personalised tour of the hotel. In short, VR helps leaving little to the imagination — in this particular case that is a good thing! Several hotel chains like Best Western or Carlson Reizdor are currently using VR as a marketing tool.
A robot as a digital hotel concierge? Well, it is already happening! Robots are becoming common helpers in the hospitality industry — appearing in hotels and restaurants around the world. They are really popular with the hotel staff — using “cyber associates” allows them to have more facetime with customers. Robots help staff to be more present for the guests by reducing several time-consuming tasks. Many agree and believe that they are a great addition to the industry.
The latest “in thing” in hotel technology are chatbots. A chatbot is a service that allows you to interact with either a person or artificial intelligence via a chat interface. Since users are now spending considerable time on messaging apps, chatbots have a huge potential in the hotel industry. According to the Oracle Hospitality report, 35% of guest said they would like the ability to schedule room cleaning and 26% said they would like to receive a smartphone notification to show if their room was being cleaned — a chatbot could easily fulfill these desires, including service automation.
Meet HiJiffy: the best hospitality chatbot that connects guest with hotel’s staff through Facebook Messenger. Guests can book a room, access hotel services, be informed of daily events taking place in the building or seek advice to sightsee the city by texting the hotel’s Facebook page.
Wondering what is NFC? It is a process of wireless data transfer that senses and then enables technology nearby to communicate without the need for an internet connection. Even though this technology is still new, NFC has proven its capabilities to improve the ways in which consumers make transactions, exchange content or connect to other devices. This technology is ideal for self-check-in or as a smart room key. Besides payments and check-ins, NFC can also be used to personalise a guest’s experience at a hotel or track loyalty points.