Digital Transformation in Hospitality Industry

Harish Thyagarajan

01 Sep 2017

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With emerging technologies, strict regulations and changing customer preferences, the hoteliers are now forced to be highly vigilant. Today’s biggest challenge is about staying relevant in the market. The need to provide a fantastic customer experience and embracing new market requirements are the key drivers for the digitization in the hospitality industry.

 

A large number of companies in the hospitality industry have now come to a realization that by adopting digital technologies, they are able to maximize their brand visibility, gain operational efficiencies and redefine customer experiences. In order to offer innovative solutions for their customers, an increasing number of hotels across the globe are partnering with IT companies.

 

Within a decade, most of the emerging technologies that we have today would have moved in as mainstream operation. The robotic – process automation, for instance, will transform the way the hotel bookings are carried out. The use of Biometrics will ensure that we are more secure, and the chatbot services will make the hotel booking process faster.

 

The constant technological development in the hospitality industry has made the lives of the customers easy. Customers’ of the modern times have a growing comfort with new technology, and this is leading to some disruptive trends. Going forward, hotels without staffs will be more appealing to the independent travelers as most of them are tech-savvy. This will also benefit the hoteliers as they will be able to reduce their operational costs.

 

Here are some of the most interesting and transformative technologies adopted by some of the global hospitality providers that are benefitting the customers as well as the hospitality business.

 

The Integration of IoT into operations

According to Gartner’s prediction, By the year 2020, around 26 billion IoT connected devices will be in use.
A large number of hoteliers across the globe that are investing in mobile engagement are expecting their customers to use the mobile device not just for room selection or making payment, but also to use certain amenities like pools, gym, and spas.

 

Companies in the hospitality industry can extract data from IoT devices for creating customer experiences, radically change the operational structure by combining virtual and real data, and also make use of algorithms to encapsulate the analysis of data to deliver highly advanced services to the customers.

 

Many companies in the hospitality industry have been capitalizing on the power of IoT to streamline their day-to-day operations. For instance, controlling the AC through a mobile app, setting up highly efficient inbuilt sensors for lights, and offering digital magazines to guests are all just a small portion of how most of the hospitality companies are integrating technology into their business.

 

Every guest in the Plaza Hotel (New York) gets an iPad when they check-in. This device lets them control their room’s properties and enables fast and easy communication with the staff of the hotel. The IoT platform is the ultimate answer to effective business management in this digital era.

 

All the companies in the hospitality industry constantly strive in matching experiences to individual guests’ preferences. This is extremely crucial for retaining customers or even to acquire new ones. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, all the companies that implement personalization can propel their revenue growth to 15% and bring down the cost to serve by 20%.

 

The hospitality providers are now learning that the digital platforms – the enablers of wonderful customer experiences and personalized interactions, are the key differentiators and will only increase in importance.

 

Chatbots for customer support

Chatbots can deliver intelligent conversation via text or voice, enabling humans to interact with systems in their native language. Hotels will soon have these intelligent systems replacing telephonic and email communications. Customers will feel more comfortable interacting with the 24/7 on-duty chatbots as they will get accurate answers to all their questions at any point in time. (Next IT is one of the companies that build natural language processing and AI-based virtual assistant systems for enterprise customers. We have been assisting Next IT in product development as well as in the implementation process).

 

Offering Virtual Reality Tours

Instead of just providing customers with an age-old brochure, hoteliers can go about providing them with a Virtual Reality experience to give them a detailed tour of the hotel. These things make a difference to the customer experience and add to the sense of them being there, thereby making sales conversions highly possible.
All the firms in the hospitality sector are competing really hard against each other in order to showcase what they have in the offerings for their customers. By providing high-resolution images and professionally recorded video clippings of the hotel rooms, companies can most certainly influence the decision of the users. At present, many companies are even going to an extent of offering an immersive experience for their prospective customers with the virtual reality tours. Customers can now explore the hotel, check out all the facilities that are offered and also explore the nearby hangout spots such as cafes or malls.

 

The hoteliers are also embedding the Augmented Reality content on their restaurant menu, allowing the non-native customers to read it in their own language. The guests are also in a position to read customer reviews and watch how the chef prepares the dish that they intend to order.

 

Capitalizing on Analytics to Improve services

Continuous data flow from websites and mobile apps bring out new opportunities for businesses. By having an effective data analysis process, the hospitality companies can adapt marketing practices to meet the guests’ preferences, improvise operational efficiency and also increase their revenue. The data that is accumulated can also be utilized for predictive analysis, thereby enabling a hospitality provider to make financially beneficial predictions.
By using the Big data and analytics, the businesses in the hospitality sector are not only able to create laser targeted marketing campaigns but are also able to measure success. Marriott Hotel chain has been doing a wonderful job by using weather reports and other local events schedules to forecast and determine the value for each room throughout the year. This allows the management to fix prices with optimum efficiency and offer interesting deals at regular intervals.

 

It is not just the customer experience that will transform in a decade. The internal operations of businesses in the hospitality sector will also see a major change.

 

 

Hospitality firms of the present era completely understand as to how important it is to build a 360-degree view of the customer in order to define where they are on their customer journey and provide them with all the right information at the right time. Companies in the hospitality sector can harness the digital technologies to explore new opportunities and tools that can bring in a promising change and rapid growth in the industry. Digitization equips the business owners with an opportunity of developing a highly data-driven customer-centric approach and enhance their existing services.

 

Hashedin has helped businesses leverage the power of Information Technology to create solutions that solve complex business challenges. Take a look at how we helped Treebo Hotel chain save their overhead cost by 15% by developing a one-stop solution called Partner Portal Management using agile methodologies.


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