With the rise of mobile devices, social networks, and other technologies, customers across all industries now expect to have access to products, data, and information with the swipe of a finger – and businesses in all sectors have been forced to adapt to this brave new world. It is imperative that companies move with the times to develop strategies that allow them to engage with their target audiences through multiple channels, and to optimise their services for the digital age.
The hospitality industry is no exception to this trend; this is an area that has long been recognised as one of the most challenging industries to operate within due to its high-volume nature, seasonal demands, and complex service requirements.
However, the advent of technology has provided an opportunity for hospitality businesses to transform themselves into more customer-centric organisations, and to provide better value for money to both existing and potential customers.
So, which trends are driving the digital revolution in hospitality? We took a closer look at a few key examples.
- The Contactless Guest Journey
In today’s society, we are constantly surrounded by contactless payment options: from our smartphones to credit cards, cash machines, and even vending machines, reducing physical touchpoints has been a real priority, particularly in response to recent global events. As such, it comes as no real surprise that guests are becoming increasingly accustomed to paying for goods and services using contactless payments.
This means that when they arrive at your hotel or restaurant, they will be expecting to pay for their stay without having to fumble around for coins or cards. They may also be keen to use their smartphone to check in online, order room service, or make reservations via a booking app. In fact, according to research conducted by Accenture, nearly three-quarters (74%) of travellers would prefer to book a trip directly online, rather than physically visit a hotel or call.
Online ordering takeaway systems are another example of this; they allow restaurants to manage orders and deliveries through a single platform, saving time and resources. Instead of forcing the customer to physically head to the restaurant, go to the website, or call to place an order, these systems ensure that orders can be placed quickly and efficiently.
By embracing digital technology, hotels and other hospitality businesses can meet the needs and expectations of their guests, resulting in a more positive overall experience.
- AI Automation
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already being used in many areas of business, including marketing, sales, accounting, finance, and HR, and it has a number of advantages for the hospitality sector – especially when it comes to communicating with guests. In our busy world, customers and guests expect rapid, accurate responses, and AI can provide these.
With AI, you can automate processes, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity. And because it works 24/7, there is no need to hire additional staff to answer phones or deal with enquiries.
As well as improving guest satisfaction, AI can help streamline operations and enhance the overall guest experience. For example, if you wanted to offer a free upgrade to a suite, you could automatically send an email to your guests to inform them about the change. This would ensure that they were aware of the new facilities before arriving at your property, and it would save time and effort on your end, too.
Finally, AI can be used to analyse data and identify patterns, allowing you to predict future demand and plan accordingly. This helps to keep your properties running smoothly, and minimises any disruption caused by unexpected issues.
- Digital Marketing
Another way in which digital technology is helping the hospitality industry is through effective digital marketing. With so much competition out there, it is essential that your business stands out from the crowd.
Today, most people search for information online first, which means it is important to get your brand name out there. By creating engaging content, such as blogs, videos, and infographics, you can attract potential customers who might not otherwise come across your business. You can then follow up with direct mail campaigns, social media advertising, and SEO to reach even more people.
In addition to attracting visitors, digital marketing can help drive conversions. If someone visits your site but doesn’t convert into a sale, you want to find out why, and digital marketing allows you to track down exactly what went wrong. This means you can make changes to your strategy, ensuring that your next visit results in a successful conversion.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Digital Technology
In recent years, we have seen a huge shift towards mobile devices, with smartphones now becoming the primary method of accessing the Internet. Digital technology is rapidly evolving, and this is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. By ensuring they are digitally-savvy, businesses in the hospitality sector can stay ahead of their competitors.