In the modern hospitality industry there are various digital technologies that are playing a major role in the day to day operations of a Hotel. Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before and this is changing both the expectations of patrons as well as the way in which the hospitality industry conducts its business. www.aurecongroup.com
How digital technology can enhance the hotel experience.
In the contemporary hospitality industry hoteliers are trying very hard to integrate digital technologies into everyday operations. They are trying to redefine the way they engage with guests to create convenient tailored encounters (Russell 2015).
Tablets are taking off and also fixed payment points which can provide customer service wherever the customer desires. Some hotels are also installing self- service tablets as a concierge service with bedroom suites, allowing the guest to order room service or contact housekeeping at the touch of a screen. Russell 2015. Smart phones can even replace security systems so as to allow keyless entry.
Digital technologies which are relevant to the Hospitality industry
According to www.hospitalitymagazine.com there are 7 technologies that are bringing about change to the Hospitality industry and are bringing about a new level of customer service. The 7 technologies are as follows:
' Online booking systems
' Electronic Point of Sale
' CRM software
' Marketing automation
' Social media
' Smart Appliances
Online booking systems:
Online bookings have become a part of everyday hospitality operations with restaurants also starting to embrace them. According to www.hospitalitymagazine.com they are a huge advantage allowing people to reserve a room or a table outside the venues opening hours or at any time when it is not convenient to call. This brings a new dimension to customer service and marketing as many industry insiders now see it as an absolute must to have an online booking service which also requires a well-designed, mobile friendly website with a simple interface (Hospitality magazine, 2015).
EPOS- Electronic Point of Sale:
Systems such as EPOS are becoming more and more sophisticated and indeed prevalent giving hospitality organisations more control over their efficiency and also provide better customer service for their staff. According to www.hospitalitymagazine.com hotels that introduce this method have everything at the touch of a button for example inventory management and other tools, information on capacity, reservations, stock, loyalty programs and more. This is a huge advantage for staff as it makes their job much quicker. EPOS allows staff to process orders, bookings and payments directly from a tablet. As said by www.hospitalitymagazine.com this gives staff greater mobility and adds another level of convenience for the customer. (Hospitality magazine, 2015).
Within the Hospitality industry marketing automation plays an integral part. It allows emails to be sent to customers and prospects which are based on their own personal information. An example of marketing automation would be sending a discount email to customers on their birthdays. There is also more advanced software available which allows more complex tools to be carried out for example emailing customers who have been visiting or clicking on certain areas of the website. This is a huge advantage to the hospitality industry as it allows organisations to monitor their prospects to encourage repeat business. (Hospitality magazine, 2015).
Social media is the most vital technology that the Hospitality industry engages with. As stated by digitally.cognizant.com Hotels are encouraging guests to share their stay experiences through social media channels throughout their stays. Nearly 25% An example of a popular social media site is Facebook which is a popular platform for check- ins and reviews of restaurants and Hotels (Hospitality magazine, 2015). According to www.digitally.cognizant.com the Soi wave House Hotel in Spain has twitter themed rooms and d''cor and encourages guests to hashtag their way through their stays. Businesses should choose their social media platforms carefully based on their target audience. Similarly the Marriott Hotel group has introduced PlusPoints which allows guests to earn points for their social media activities.
In recent times Trip Advisor has become one of the main sources of information for people Hotels and leisure facilities. According to www.hospitality.org for any hotel to not at least monitor social media is tantamount to willingly flying blind. (McIndoe, 2013).
The use of the smartphone is yet another way for the hospitality industry to improve its customer service. An example of a Hotel business that has implemented this is the Hilton Worldwide group. They have used smartphones by offering guests the ability to check in and out, select their room, check maps and make extra requests or purchases from the use of their smartphone. The hospitality industry is constantly trying to develop its technological services and it is hoped that smartphones will be able to act as room keys.
CRM- Customer Relationship Management:
As stated by (Hospitality magazine, 2015) an effective CRM makes it much simpler build continuous relationships with customers as well as making sure that important details are easily accessible to all staff via cloud computing. The CRM software is organised and managed in one place.
Smart appliances are growing into the hospitality industry quiet fast and will no doubt be an integral part of hospitality operations going forward. According to www.hospitalitymagazine.com lighting, 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 device. As well as appliances the hospitality industry is introducing wearable technology an sensors
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