Every industry is experiencing a technology-driven renovation, and the hospitality industry is no different. Bitten by the technology bug, there has been a change in the way business is being done. This technological revolution is allowing businesses to have a more convenient, informed and valuable relationship with their customers.
Listed below are few technological advances that are transforming the hospitality industry and enabling a new level of customer service:
1) Online booking systems
They are extremely widespread in the hotel industry, with many restaurants also beginning to accept them. This would require a well-designed, mobile-friendly website with a simple interface.
Electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems are becoming more and more sophisticated, allowing hospitality venues to operate more efficiently and provide better customer service. By integrating with CRM, inventory management, information on capacity, reservations, stock, loyalty programs and more is accessible.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software allows contacts and information to be organized and managed in one place. An effective CRM makes it easier to build ongoing relationships with customers, as well as making important details easily accessible to all staff via a cloud-based application.
Marketing automation allows personalized emails to be sent to customers and prospects based on their activities and personal information. Advanced marketing automation software allows much more complex tasks to be performed, such as emailing customers who have been visiting or clicking on certain areas of the website or social media pages.
5) Social Media
A social media presence is crucial, particularly given that Facebook is a popular platform for check-ins and reviews of restaurants and hotels. Attractive images are usually the most popular type of post. Businesses should also choose their social media platforms carefully based on their target audience, rather than simply joining all of them.
Hilton Worldwide has taken advantage of this by offering guests the ability to check in and out, select their room, check maps and make extra requests or purchases all from their smartphones. Another revolutionary service that soon will be made available is smartphones to function as room keys.
7) Smart appliances
Lighting, temperature, blinds, alarms, TV, radio and room service will all be controlled from a single tablet device, or from a single app that guests can download and login to from their own device.
Irrespective of the changes that these technology brings about , the truth is that they are there to enhance, not to replace, the core offerings of a hospitality business. Top quality food and customer service are still the fundamental pillars of the industry, but the technologies can make it easier to consistently deliver a memorable experience to your guests.
- Ms. Bindu Menon
Senior Faculty, INLEAD
Images Courtesy: Google Images