How Technology Is Revolutionising The Hotel Industry

How Technology Is Revolutionising The Hotel Industry

Technology has long transformed how individuals and businesses operate, and with it comes one such industry that is also witnessing this transformation: hospitality. As customer attitudes and expectations began to change, technology-powered hotel trends have seen a significant increase.

Technological advancement is fast becoming a powerful catalyst in the hotel industry, where support is often required 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, a recent report by Hospitality Technology1 found that more than half of hotels are planning to ramp up their IT spending while nearly all the remaining half expect to spend the same amount. If anything, this implies that most, if not all, hoteliers have already invested in technology at some point. We are indeed seeing a sweeping shift towards technological innovation, from chatbots that answer frequently asked customer queries and smart controls that automatically adjust room settings, to robots that provide artificially intelligent concierge and housekeeping services.

While those are remarkable on their own, here are some other ways technology can supercharge efficiency, guest satisfaction and sustainability in hospitality settings;

1. Rethink the check-in experience

The last thing hotel guests need, especially after a long, tedious flight, is to arrive at a crowded hotel lobby and wait for a receptionist to manually input data to complete their registration. Self-service technologies for the check-in process increase the self-reliance and flexibility of guests as they can conduct self-check-in remotely via their smartphones whenever they wish to. A study published by a data firm2 confirmed that 68 per cent of guests want to speed up their check-in process using their mobile phones. This technology also extends to other applications, such as smart room keys that allow guests to access their rooms via mobile phones or facial recognition technology for check-outs. Besides increased convenience for guests, implementation of such technologies reduces environmental footprints and eliminates the hassle of keycards prone to damage and loss.

Additionally, some mobile check-in solutions bring about a safe option for those doubting its security. Designed specially with facial recognition technology, mobile-enabled check-ins can assist in verifying the identity of the guest who booked the room. This is especially useful for certain countries, such as Singapore, where it is a requirement that the room booker be the same individual present for check-in, necessitating the use of facial recognition.

Apart from biometric features, contactless check-in for hotels provides a new channel for hotels to engage with visitors before they arrive. This implies having the opportunity to better understand guests, with ample time prior, to create personalised experiences for them. For example, a guest indicates during the pre-arrival stage that they are travelling as a family. The hotel can then prepare a child-friendly setup for their room or offer them a discounted upgrade to a larger suite. Ultimately, this increases the guest experience for guests, whilst streamlining hotel operations for staff.

2. Automation enables more meaningful interactions

Imagine two scenarios that both take up 5 minutes of a hotel employee’s time: 1. Guest uses the in-room phone to ring the reception counter. She was put on hold and routed to the housekeeping department before she could ask for an extra towel, 2. The receptionist notices a guest entering the hotel with a crying child and proactively helps her with her luggage as she calms her child down. We would all agree scenario two has a much higher chance of making it on a 5* hotel review.

Not all interactions are equally meaningful. Service automation of non-essential tasks can streamline countless processes with less error and free up hotel staff to focus on such high-value activities. An application of this is a guest experience platform, which reduces front-desk load and call centre volume. It allows guests to acquire amenities and request room cleaning without ringing up the call centre or visiting the front desk. Vouch, for instance, launched their guest experience platform at the Dusit Thani Laguna Singapore in November 2021, assisting the hotel to save a total of 930 man-hours in the first three months of deployment. One might ask, what do 930 hours signify in the hotel industry? Well, assuming it takes 45 minutes per turnover, hotel housekeeping can turn over 1,240 standard rooms in said 930 hours.

3. Elevated guest experience through data

Data insights are an essential commodity for businesses. The wealth of insights provided by technology lets hoteliers paint a complete picture of their guests, allowing them to develop relevant loyalty programmes and innovative marketing practices to optimise customer acquisition, retention, and expenditure. As such, hotels that own and leverage guest data can improve the guest experience and stand out from their competition.

Contrary to what one might think, many guests are reasonably comfortable sharing a fair amount of information – an Oracle Hospitality3 report showed that 71 per cent of guests like to share information regarding food preferences (including allergies) and 64 per cent like to share their entertainment preferences. With the help of a guest experience platform, the data collected from the current stay can be used for the next stay to increase personalisation.

An example of elevating guest experience through data would be recognising certain guest behaviours and proactively engaging them accordingly. For a guest who ordered supper every night during his stay, it would be impressive if the hotel’s digital platform could serve out food and snacks suggestions at opportune moments. In another instance, a guest who spends a significant amount of time on the platform researching about the hotel spa can benefit from a tailored promotion specially for them.

Conclusion

It is no secret that technology is revolutionising the hotel industry, and those not fully utilising technology to optimise productivity and guest engagement might stagnate. With the right combination of technologies, together with strong support from the hotels, there is no limit to the opportunities technology can bring in terms of productivity savings, revenue generation, and a whole new brand of guest experiences.

At Vouch, we have seen how the implementation of the right innovation can help hotels progress toward today’s definition of hospitality, and we understand the importance of technology in creating a unique contactless hotel experience. Thus, we dedicate ourselves to providing solutions for hotels that not only streamline and improve work processes for operations, but also provide convenience to guests at every touchpoint along the entire guest journey.

References

[1] 2017 LODGING TECHNOLOGY STUDY | Frictionless Hotels: Enabling the Omni-Experience. Hospitality Technology. (2016, December 20). Retrieved from https://hospitalitytech.com/2017-lodging-technology-study-frictionless-hotels-enabling-omni-experience?from=gate

[2] ​​Taylor, D. (2018, January 16). Information technology in the hotel industry: 5 things you didn’t know. Capterra. Retrieved from https://blog.capterra.com/information-technology-in-the-hotel-industry-5-things-you-didnt-know/

[3] Yasuda, G. (2017, February 1). New Report from Oracle Hospitality: Creating the Coveted Hotel Guest Experience. Oracle Hospitality. Retrieved from https://blogs.oracle.com/hospitality/post/new-report-from-oracle-hospitality-creating-the-coveted-hotel-guest-experience