The more technology advances, the more changes we find in various traditional industries and the global hospitality industry has been among the most impacted sectors by digital transformation: be it online travel agencies (OTAs), sharing economy models, guest reviews, in-room WiFi ,or food and travel accounts on Instagram, the digital revolution is far from over. More so, the hospitality industry realize that by adopting digital technologies they can have more brand awareness, increase operational efficiency and provide a better customer experience.
Innovative technologies and business models have transformed the service environment and service innovation “introduces something new into the way of life, organization, timing and placement of what can generally be described as the individual and collective processes that relate to consumers. Online co-innovation communities are enabling customers to share, discuss and advance their ideas. Such dynamic environments not only provide companies with rich sources of innovation, but also push service providers to continuously innovate and redesign their services. Business models have provided such innovations are phone-as-key-cards, mobile self-check-in, mobile booking (guests with smartphones can now unlock their rooms at more than 2,500 hotels using the digital key and members can select the exact rooms they want, order room service, message the front desk, and more—all from their iPhones), self-service check-in kiosks, lobby media panels, electronic luggage tags, bring your own device, bring your own content platforms, smartphone boarding passes, hotel service optimization systems, guest device connectivity tools, voice over internet protocol phones that are interconnected with the hotel’s ecosystem (e.g. phones in the guestrooms that guests can use for ordering room service directly from a touchscreen and housekeeping can use them to put work orders and the system directly communicates with corresponding departments), wearable devices to identify guests, tablet menus and table reservation systems to name a few.
Technology for consumers means an easy life and our appetite for this lifestyle is insatiable but technology has done more than simply enhance transparency and facilitate e-commerce. It has inaugurated a new traveller’s mindset, pushing the hospitality industry to innovate in order to stay relevant and cater to a generation of younger, more connected guests. Today, thanks to mobility, travelers are playing a much larger role in the experience and they want to find a hotel that matches their style—on their terms—the very moment they need it, a completely new era of travel. Technology can play a huge role in the effort to make your stay as easy and hassle-free as possible. Digital solutions can provide customers with next-level convenience and personalization while giving brands additional insight into consumer preferences. In-room tablets allow guests to set up ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs, order room service, book transportation, control lights and luminosity, change TV channels and lock/unlock their rooms.
In the digital age, clients often feel like they already know the hotel before they even arrive at the property. They can read about the facilities, browse the restaurant’s menu online, take a virtual tour and as more and more devices get connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), it makes sense that the tourism and hospitality industry would begin to harness that data to improve the customer experience.
Foreseeing a future
Imagine you check into a hotel without speaking to a flesh-and-bones human, without using your phone, without doing anything beyond walking up to your room and getting your eyeballs scanned for entry. You walk into a hotel that rocket off the earth into space, where you’re able to conduct your business dealings via hologram as you orbit the moon, anything and everything is on the table for the future as brands look to differentiate themselves in the $billion lodging industry.
Tourism industry is expected to reach $563 billion by 2020, according to Global Wellness Institute, experts expect many hotels to focus on wellness as a key point of innovation, working to upgrade the sleeping and fitness aspects of a hotel room—as well as the bathroom. Brands are looking at everything, from dream tonics to improve your slumber to feces analysis to find out what’s missing from your diet. Chains will enhance the business travel experience so road warriors who travel weeks out of every month don’t feel like they’re sleeping in a vanilla conference room. Hotels that can try to help people when they travel by being a guide and elevating that experience are the ones that will stand out.
Article by Blessing Bassey