Sonica Malhotra, JMD, MBD Group talks about how technology is redefining hospitality operations
As the technology matures and evolves, the opportunity for the hotel industry to redefine its services and offerings are bound to multiply
Almost all industries have embraced technology to automate their business operations and ensure higher productivity. The hospitality industry is not indifferent to this phenomenon. As consumer expectations continuously evolve due to the technological revolution, hotels are implementing various technologies such as IoT, Augmented Reality (AR) and robotics to improve their operations, engage with customers and transform the guest experience.
Technology plays a pivotal role in redefining the hotel business since it not just automates business operations but also helps in understanding customer expectations, past patterns and behaviour, and customise services accordingly. From booking a room to checking out, smartphone-based controls of various amenities and appliances — several operations can be carried out at a click of the button.
Automation in the hospitality industry can convert inefficient, independent and disconnected processes into integrated, automated and simplified workflows. It increases efficiency by streamlining tasks and improving overall quality and reliability and ensures a seamless and efficient end-to-end stay experience for the customer. Automation eliminates the need for any human interface; bookings and cancellations can be performed at any time of the day. Guests can also check into or out of the hotel using their mobile devices or an on-site kiosk, allowing them to skip the line at the front desk. Online booking management is a feature of automation that enables guests to book their room according to their convenience.
Augmented reality (AR) is a game-changing innovation aimed at providing luxurious services to the guests; it helps to completely modify the environment and enhance it. This technology can be used to provide guests with services such as digitally guided tours; previews of in-room environment, for instance, virtual wallpapers; immediate translation services for signs and other written materials; interactive restaurant menus with dish previews; critic reviews; food allergy information, as well as interactive trivia games revolving around on-property points of interest.
Robotics is another feature of technology that is increasingly being adopted by the hotel industry. From concierge services to housekeeping, robots are deployed to perform repetitive tasks with equal efficiency as human employees. An in-room automation system is equipped with occupancy sensors that can detect movement when a guest enters the room and activates the lights and temperature control. Alternately, they can be controlled by having the guest insert their room key into a reader near the door. Automation can also help reduce costs and increase revenue in various areas of a hotel.
After their stay at hotels, customer feedback is more than welcome. Automated feedback systems are being used to garner views and reviews. After a guest checks out, the system sends an automatically generated email asking for feedback of the customers. Also, hotels are investing more on social listening tools that help them track customer feedback around the internet.
Even chatbots are widely deployed by the hotels to answer queries, provide a quick response time, and engage the staff only for complex and urgent tasks. And these chatbots can be integrated online for the convenience of customers.
By providing accessible technology to guests, hotels are elevating the overall experience to the next level and offering immense convenience.
- Sonica Malhotra, JMD, MBD Group