By Jos Schaap CEO and Founder – StayNTouch
According to a Walker study, by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Studies validate that dynamic shifts in the hotel industry are taking place in 2018 – with the dominance of digital and mobile.
It is safe to say that hotel success and technology go hand in hand and hotels must step up their “technological game” if they hope to differentiate themselves and engage with guests. Being ahead of the curve will not only increase your profits, doing something new will get you extra exposure, drive loyalty and bring in new guests.
Explore the top 10 must-have technologies below to determine if your hotel technology is leading, competitive or lagging.
Gartner predicts that by 2020 a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human, so make sure to give your guests the direction and tools they need to accomplish tasks themselves. Topping that list for the hotel industry is mobile and self-service check-in and check-out options (via mobile and lobby stations). Self-service, if done correctly, allows hotels to operate much more efficiently while at the same time providing guests with an experience that they are comfortable with. Look for an advanced cloud-based PMS with useful functions to enable self-service options such as check-in/out, mobile room service requests, late check-out requests, extended bookings, and so on.
2. Cybersecurity & Compliance
Your hotel data may be at risk of cyber-attacks if you rely on unsecured technology. With the rise of the Internet of Things and the increased usage of online tools, cyber-attacks have become more frequent and prevalent. As the enforcement deadline for GDPR looms closer, it is imperative that hotels upgrade their data protection processes, or they face the risk of significant financial penalties. Hotels accepting credit card payments must already be compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Hotels should invest in cybersecurity technology but also provide their staff with appropriate training programs. A cloud-based PMS can be more secure than an on-premise based platform because it takes liability away from the hotel by using tokenization with ongoing updates and latest encryption included as part of the SaaS service agreement.
3. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
In addition to an explosion of mobile apps to track loyalty points, streamline check-in and open doors, more hotels now offer virtual reality to preview their property. Virtual reality provides an immersive experience that inspires real-world action which translates into real revenue. While big brands may use expensive connected glasses or mounted headsets, many hotels rely on proprietary apps, smartphones and search engines to do the heavy lifting. Virtual reality is rising in popularity, so hotels looking to attract millennials and younger generations in the years to come need to get on board sooner rather than later.