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Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead
It’s hard to imagine a hospitality experience before technology. At this point in the 21st Century, the thought of a hospitality business not having a social media presence seems absurd, with EPOS systems now ubiquitous, online ordering systems commonplace, electric order screens being utilised in restaurant kitchens, iPads being used to deliver customer receipts, or even robots used to deliver food (as was the case for Alibaba’s restaurant, Freshippo).
Whilst there are many aspects of hospitality that can only be benefited from a warm welcome and a friendly face, what new developments in retail technology solutions can further improve the hospitality customer experience? And what are the emerging trends in the hospitality sector?
Prevalent in other aspects of life, the ability to recognise images, faces and fingerprints is perfect for the hospitality industry. Access to hotel and guest accommodation, for example, can be granted based on recognition of biometric data, whilst orders can be made based on images and purchases conducted instantly. There can also be considerable security benefits as well as a streamlining of the management processes that occur in any hospitality business.
It’s one of the most common retail industry technology solutions of the past decade and now the idea of using a mobile or tablet to conduct a transaction is so installed in the minds of customers. However, the impact it can bring to the hospitality industry is perhaps still to be exploited; key cards for hotels could be issued via mobile phones, guest check-ins done via tablets and room service orders conducted using in-room devices are just three areas which can be more widespread and utilised. Restaurant, café and bar menus could be studied at tables via tablets, with orders being placed via the same method. However, like all methods of technology, ensuring that the correct structure is in place to support in-store IT equipment is paramount to maintaining a consistent and seamless hospitality customer experience. Our award-winning IT Help Desk already provides support to key hospitality businesses, such as Vue and Pizza Hut Restaurants, to safeguard their systems and to enable our hospitality customers the opportunity to grow and expand.
Although Virtual Reality is certainly nothing new, it could potentially influence how hospitality businesses market and promote themselves to potential customers. By allowing the user to fully explore a virtual environment by placing themselves in it, it is the ideal tool to use to show people what they are booking; rooms can be looked at, areas fully explored, and customer satisfaction improved as they discover exactly how environments will be before they arrive. Augmented reality differs slightly in that it doesn’t require such complex technology and can therefore be more accessible to a wider range of people. Customers can use their smartphone or tablet to create ‘information overlays’: for instance, pointing their device at something and seeing something extra, displayed on their screen. Uses in the hospitality world could be vast, from gaining extra information on local amenities and tourist attractions to directions, reviews of service quality and many other entertainment options.