The world is now experiencing its fourth industrial revolution, a period marked by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, virtual reality (VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G. This era is significantly transforming the hospitality industry and will continue to do so.
One reason for this is that the COVID-19 pandemic brought the hospitality industry to its knees, and in the aftermath, has seen this industry undergo an unprecedented adoption of digital technologies. The digital revolution is well underway, and hospitality operators are only too aware that they need to get on board or risk being left behind.
Customer behaviour has shifted along with the times as well and has had a dramatic impact on the travel and hospitality industries. Today, people expect a customer-centric experience, from choosing their destination with a few clicks to receiving detailed information on the accommodation, available activities, restaurants, and other entertainment on offer.
Similarly, the days of physically going to travel agents to get information or to buy tickets are over. This was slow and onerous and ill-suited to today’s demanding customer who wants answers immediately, and their needs met at once.
However, in this sector, digital transformation is about so much more than simply implementing new technology within the existing business. It’s about doing things in a new, digital way, and every major change needs a solid strategy behind it. The question for these organisations right now is how to make digital adoption work for their specific business.
While new, glamorous technologies such as robot concierges might get a lot of press, simply bringing these in without an overarching digital strategy won’t deliver any real benefits. Digital transformation isn’t about simply bringing in shiny new tools and solutions, it needs a business model that positions the company in the digital economy.
It needs to consider factors such as that every individual owns at least one digital device, and as a result, the way we get things done has been greatly influenced by mobile technology.
For example, hotel reservations can now be made instantly using a mobile app or website, and certain venues even employ mobile-first hospitality management software, enabling guests to check in, order room service, select a room upon arrival, unlock their room door, and even check out without having any physical contact.
The hospitality sector has also taken the IoT on board, enabling property management systems to connect with guests’ digital devices. This helps to streamline hotel operations by eliminating paperwork and keeping reservations, the concierge desk, and guests all in sync.
Some have sensors built in to control the lighting, TV, and more, and others have implemented smart assistants, using in-room voice recognition to answer guest queries. By taking this burden off the front desk, hotels have realised significant savings, which can be passed down to the customer too.
Better customer experiences
Hospitality companies that are harnessing the constant flow of data from their guests, are also able to ensure better customer experiences. However, for too many entities, getting caught by collecting data and doing nothing with it, causes more harm than good.
This is one of the major reasons why hospitality companies are moving away from old systems, and implementing new, digital ones that can help automate customer experience (CX).
By analysing all the data they collect, they can improve their methods and enhance their operations. It enables them to save their clients’ preferences, and for future stays, ensure that experiences are tailored to that specific customer. This, in turn, guarantees happy customers who will keep coming back.
In addition, customers can be kept up to date on any offers that are suited to their preferences, or recent news by giving them access to targeted information that is automatically updated.
In this way, hotel owners can build highly-focused digital marketing, and can track their results too.
Staying ahead of the curve
With all these possibilities, digital transformation is changing the hospitality industry, leaving some organisations to fall behind. Customers’ behaviour has evolved at a rapid pace, toward new, inventive experiences.
There’s no doubt that digital transformation is one of the most crucial drivers of industry growth today. Customers want one-tap check-ins, digital concierge services, voice-activated controls in their rooms, smart technologies, and direct, instant bookings.
And this is just the beginning. The hospitality industry is adopting new technologies as quickly as possible to exceed customer expectations and digitise their journeys from start to finish.
These entities need to be prepared to curate and customise travel offers as well as implement a data-driven evolution to meet the growing demand for apps, automation, and robotics.
Ultimately, to be successful in the hospitality industry, organisations have to guarantee that their clients have an exceptional experience from the moment they begin researching and planning their holiday until they return home from it.
However, this is easier said than done. Any bug in the technology they use that causes even a moment’s inconvenience can see customers moving to your competitors, so it’s worth talking to a digital transformation expert to help your company smoothly along this journey.
For assistance in defining the technologies that should form part of your digital transformation plan such as laptop devices, software, data storage and servers and cybersecurity, reach out to us today.