Digitalization has left no industries untouched with its miraculous advancements, and one of the sectors that have experienced a whole new level of digital advancement is none other but the hospitality sector. In this article today, we will delve into the varied ways in which the digital era has aided in the evolution of the hospitality industry.
- Service automation to bring an extra edge to customer interactions and leading to efficient workforce management
- Location-based services to aid the efforts at personalizing and customizing guest experiences
- Social media serves the twofold purpose of digital marketing and customer services
- An increase in the use of apps and chatbots for facilities like loyalty programs
With the evolution of new technologies and the market disruptors reaching their zenith, the need for a core transformation is noticed in every industry, and the hospitality sector is no exception. As such, the sector has long identified the value of digitalization as the catalyst to offer not only excellent guest experiences but also to reduce several operational inefficiencies. Thus, it comes as no surprise that more than 50% of hotels have planned to increase the IT investments in the years to come, while over 40% have decided to keep their current investments unchanged.
So, how far has this wave of digitalization transformed the hospitality industry? Surely, the way we book hotels or check-in has improved immensely in the last five years, and even our methods to find the right places to head to have undergone a sea change. But, is that all to the digital evolution of the sector? In this article today, we, at Avlon Shiksha Niketan, one among the leading travel and tourism management colleges in Kolkata, will give answers to all such questions by outlining the impact of the digital era on the hospitality industry.
Enhancing guest experiences through service automation
Service automation refers to a vast area that includes everything from using facial recognition and automatic check-in through apps to automatically offering the amenities as per guests’ preferences, such as booking spa appointments or giving extra towels. Automation has led to a transformation of both customer-centric and customer-facing activities, thereby making more staff free to focus on other crucial areas dealing with further improvement in guest experiences.
We, at Avlon Shiksha Niketan, a renowned hospitality management college in Kolkata, in our years of experience in grooming efficient professionals for the hospitality industry, have seen that in this era of competitiveness, a business that goes the extra distance for the customers is the one that has more of the recall factor. Thus, a combination of service automation and the dedicated efforts of the hotel employees is levied to add to the guest experience in order to make it more memorable and ensure repeat stays at the accommodation.
Letting mobile apps and chatbots take center stage
For a long time, loyalty programs have been a crucial element in the marketing efforts of a hospitality location as it ensures increased engagement and interaction with the guests.
With the apps coming to the forefront with technologies driving these loyalty programs, the rate of engagement is only going to rise in the years to come. After all, nearly 56% millennials and 50% of Gen X guests have opined that they would much rather use a loyalty app, rather than carry around a loyalty card.
Now, the next-gen of mobile apps and chatbots will be used as one-stop destinations, offering access to a variety of facilities, right from controlling the room lighting to ordering movies for the night.
Reforming the humble desktop phone in guest rooms
So, what is the least advanced technology found in most hotels? It’s probably the humble desktop phone kept in the guest rooms!
But, not anymore, as the digital era has made it possible for guests to pair the in-room phone system with the apps on their mobile phones. This enables guests to switch between the devices to receive calls anywhere, along with adjusting the room temperature or ordering room service from any place, regardless of whether it’s outside their room or even outside the property.
Businesses are using this connected technology to inform guests about their upcoming gym or spa sessions, provide recommendations about local events, and the likes.
Leveraging social media for customer services and marketing
At present, there is hardly any business in the hospitality sector that does not have a social media presence, regardless of its scale of operations. Social media has lately emerged as a powerful tool taking the hospitality industry a lot closer to its target audiences across the globe.
Irrespective of whether it’s a halt for the night or weeks, the guests turn to social media for pictures, reviews, and more of an establishment before they check-in. Moreover, they post their own reviews on their pages about their experience of staying at the hotels.
Thus, those curated social media profiles of hotels and restaurants that we notice on these platforms, serve the twofold purpose of fueling the digital marketing initiatives and improving the customer services.
Location-based services focused at personalization
Keeping the guests comfortable and happy during their entire stay: isn’t that one of the main tenets of the hospitality industry? Well, this is exactly what the advancing hospitality technology attempts to ensure as well, and making use of the location-based services is one of the ways it is done.
Knowing the location of the guests enables the hotels to push out special offers when they are more likely to act on them. For instance, giving them a special coupon when they’re passing by the hotel gift shop or sending a glass of orange juice to their room right after their morning run. It even lets the hotels know the whereabouts of their staff, so that they can be sent to the right place at the right time.
Thus, it’s evident that technology has turned out to be a critical component in revolutionizing the present and future of the hospitality industry. However, another fact is that regardless of all the automation, guests have always craved human interaction in this service-based industry. And, this is where expertise and skills of the hospitality management professionals come into the picture. At Avlon Shiksha Niketan, we are putting in dedicated efforts to provide our students with real-world based training that makes them capable of managing the actual complexities that might arise anytime in the industry. Our aim at Avlon, being the most highly trusted hospitality management institute in Kolkata, is to not only make our budding professionals adept at keeping pace with the evolving digital tech in the industry, but also to groom them to become proficient enough in bringing that much-needed humane touch to the proceedings.