1. “7 Technologies that are transforming the hospitality industry.” –Hospitality Magazine
Article Summary and Insights:
The hospitality industry is experiencing a technological transformation. Current technology is improving and being put to better or new uses. According to this article in Hospitality Magazine, there are seven technologies that are taking the industry by storm.
- Online Booking Systems
I agree with the many industry insiders that now consider an online booking system essential. Penetrating the online marketplace is an absolutely mandatory part of the formula for success. However, opinions differ when it comes to how to accomplish this aspiration. As expressed in the article “Taking back control of the direct channel for hotels” posted on the class Scoop.It!, using online travel agents as a properties online booking system has easy setup and maintenance but lacks true customization and can put a sizable dent in profit margins, but building and utilizing a 100 percent customized system does not necessarily grant instant access to hundreds of travels sites on the web. Over all, I am of the opinion that online travel agents are still the best option—for now—because the pros out way the cons.
- Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS)
Primarily used for mobile or self-ordering, EPOS systems can replace waitresses’ use of paper orders and remote/hidden POS systems. In my opinion, this streamlines the look of the restaurant floor and provides better and more instantaneous service. Panera Bread uses self-order tablets as some of their locations that allow customers who know what they want to order traditional menu items quickly and independently. Having used this system, I find it more of a novelty than a convenience because the system isn’t exactly self-explanatory. Currently, the technology is much more enjoyable as an aid to waitresses where the restaurant can experience increased efficiency and a higher standard of service while guests can experience the “that’s cool” factor without the frustration of having to navigate the service themselves.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM technology provides efficient electronic storage and management of contracts and customer information and many versions also feature cloud-based applications that provide easy access to frontline employees. Electronic storage and online back-up are not totally new ideas (i.e. the floppy disc) and despite the long way these technologies have come is, in my opinion, not enough to do away completely with paper back ups. Even with electronic files, my previous property kept basic papers for 1 year and more sensitive files for much longer. Basically, CRM technology is something we should utilize more, but I doubt many will do away with a paperback up system anytime soon.
- Marketing Automation
Automatic email and text communications have been made possible by the development and improvement of marketing automation technology. Having worked with this type of technology, there is not an overabundance of companies/technologies from which to choose; however, the technology available various greatly in effectiveness and quality. In my opinion, Constant Contact is the best marriage of quality and ease of use for marketing automation technology available. This type of marketing can really step us a properties game, but beware of poor performing products.
- Social Media
According to the article, photos are the most popular posts by social media users, but the arena has become a bona fide space for reviews. While sites such as TripAdvisor and Expedia provide a niche arena for travel/tourism/hospitality related communication, general social media sites also invite open, unfiltered discussion. Whole social media is BIG, it is important for companies to assess and utilize only the social media outlets that their demographic are actively using.
Smartphones are already super convenient. They are constantly being integrated and synced with our daily lives. Applications such as Apple Pay, in combination with CapitalOne, have provided another level of integration. Currently, there is talk and work on guests being able to use their cell phones as hotel room keys but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future we will have QR Code or RFID storage for our driver licenses, insurance policies and other important information.
- Smart Appliances
A part of American households for sometime, smart appliances are beginning to make their way into the hospitality industry. Luxuries such as electronically controlled blinds, thermostats, lights and more are something we can expect to see in hotels sometime in the future. My biggest concern is the time between now and implementation because while these products are available for purchase by consumers directly, they have not taken off nor seemed to gain any ground in the typical household. Could the hospitality industry be just as slow to adopt these technologies? I believe that it is likely so—mainly due to the high cost of implementation.
In conclusion, technology is still advancing and most industries are feeling the pressure to update existing technology and adopt new technology. In the hospitality industry this is especially true.