Being one of the most dynamic sectors worldwide, the hospitality industry puts its customers at the core of its operations and focuses on delivering the best of their sincere services and experience. In these ever-evolving times and changing demands of the new-age travellers, hotels are willing to explore and experiment with transforming technologies to grow and nurture themselves in the industry.
For an enhanced experience for the guests and improved profitability, hotels have begun to reconsider the hotel and room design, guest services, only to satisfy the millennial customer, who wants to review, plan, book and customise their experience through their smartphones at a convenient time.
So, where is hospitality heading in the near future?
To build a unique place in the industry, the hotels direct their efforts in various segments, such as better trained and equipped manpower, raised capital for superior equipment, and the most crucial factor - technology.
We say that the changing trends in technology and science will vastly affect the industry. How? These advancements tend to shift the power towards the consumers, especially millennials travellers.
As per a study, millennials make up over one-third of the world's hotel guests and predictions state this percentage will increase to more than fifty per cent by the year 2025? Thus, there's no doubt that the millennials are going to be the primary customer of this industry.
(Medium, Dec 18, 2017)
The only mystery lingering is up to which extent the technological transformation will happen and where it might take the hotels that make the most out of it. Let us estimate how digital transformation in the hospitality industry will look like in the coming future -
1) Enhanced Remote Access with IoT: Internet of Things (IoT) is not limited to connecting things or services, but changing the way products and services deliver value. IoT in hospitality offers extended integration with personal devices of the guests, through which for instance they can unlock their room via their mobile device, providing a seamless hotel experience.
In terms of operations, automation and real-time data can help companies recognise problems beforehand, and avert some problems from ever happening.
So, ranging from Hyper-Personalised Hotel Rooms for the guests to Smart Voice-Controlled Customer Service, and Electronic Key Cards to Predictive Repairs & Maintenance for the staff, IoT can help automate processes, improve the guests' experience and aid the hotels in cost-cutting.
2) Data Science For Comprehensive Assistance: Over the last decade, the job of a hotelier has changed with the evolving demands of their guests. Data Science helps the industry in analyzing the information for enhanced decision-making capability and enables hotels to be more dynamic with the guests.
From being able to send out personalized messages for offers and discounts to focusing on mapping their visibility efforts to maximize the engagement for a satisfying experience for the guests, an extensive understanding of big data analytics. can take the industry to a new level.
3) AI Bots Becoming The Next Big Thing: With Artificial Intelligence entering the hospitality industry, the race of creating a richer, more engaging customer experience has begun amongst the hotels.
AI will be able to aid the hotels from being able to capture a gamut of information around Customer purchases, offering every detail on a customer's fingertips, helping with travel choices, journey patterns, hotel rating inquiries, payment methods, etc. And, it doesn't just stop there, this advancement will only increase the hotel's efficiency as the chatbot are capable of answering thousands of visitors at once, saving all the time and effort.
Moreover, the information, once collected can be translated into delivering an insightful experience to hotel customers, increasing the chances of upsells and conversions for the hotel.
4) Use of AR and VR Within The Industry: Emerging as vital marketing tools in the industry, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality allow the businesses to alter the way customers perceive the environment they are in.
While Virtual Reality replaces the real-world environment with a completely virtual one, Augmented Reality enhances the complete experience of the physical world.
As the use of technology can go beyond the current realm, the industry can surely embrace the technology in various aspects, for instance, the use of VR can be employed to rooms and other spaces at the hotel, it provides the potential customers with a more realistic feel of the venue for a more informed decision.
By leveraging the AR tool, the hotels introduce digital components into Reality, rather than replacing the Reality itself, making the environment more interactive.
Some hotels, for instance, used the technology in the gamification zone and marked their location an important part of an established AR game. The technology can also be improvised into developing an app for the hotel, only to make exploring the hotel or local area more delightful.
The Transformed Future:
While some hotel chains have already tapped into the opportunities, the technologies discussed above are not that far from being able to change the game for the entire industry, observing as how they're already nascent realities. These advancements bring along a whole bunch of possibilities, and it's not a surprise that more and more hotels wish to work with the developers for more innovative solutions for the guests.
Digital transformation brings in a substantial positive impact on traditional businesses, while not only from a customer's experience point of view but also benefit the hotels in aspects like decreasing the cost, improving efficiency and performance, better communication flow and so on.
So, if you imagine an ever more intelligent and smart hotel with a meaningful experience, your predictions aren't wrong!