In today’s technology-driven world, the future of the hospitality industry is digital. The good news is that hospitality technology has come a long way over the years. In this article, we turn our focus on technology in the hospitality industry.
We have covered a lot of areas in the post that are related to technology and that would play a crucial role in reshaping the hospitality and the hotel industry. We have also listed a few of the technological innovation and each of these can be the best hospitality technology in the coming decades.
So, in the age of Big Data, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Analytics and Shared Economy, what could be in store for hospitality technology for hotels and restaurants? Let’s have a look at these in this detailed guide.
Table of Contents
1. Top Hospitality Technology Trends in 2019
2. AI and Machine Learning is redefining the Hospitality Industry- here’s how
3. Cloud Computing in Hospitality- Some Interesting Facts
4. Using Data Analytics in the Hospitality Industry for more Profitability
Top Hospitality Technology Trends- An Overview
We are aware that the topic has been beaten to death and we would thus like to make this informative yet refreshing for those managing restaurants and hotels. What does the Future of the hospitality industry have in store for us as far as the technology is concerned?
Here’s what hotels are spending as per the report from CallBox. Yes, everyone is spending on mobile technology and better usage of customer data.
Moving on to some insights on hospitality technology that would be useful for restaurants and hotels.
So, here are some hospitality technology insights and trends to watch out in the next couple of years.
1. Top Hospitality Technology Trends in 2019
Technology is the buzzword of the last few decades and is now a key success factor in the hospitality industry.
When the whole Hospitality industry is discussing robotics and technology, it is important to gather on what’s really in store for the hospitality industry in the future in terms of technology.
So, let’s have a look at the top Hospitality technology trends of 2019 and beyond.
Our post about the Hotel Industry Trends in 2019 and beyond already covers a few points on the latest technology of the like of SaaS, Enhanced room technology, Mobile check-in etc. Let’s take things a notch higher as it’s 2019 that is taking us deeper into the era of artificial intelligence and club computing.
So, what’s new as far as hospitality innovation and the latest hospitality technology trends in 2019 are concerned?
- Service Automation
- Mobile Technology
- Faster Internet
- Virtual Concierge
- Chatbots for customer service
- Apps for guest
and lot’s more.
Yes, hospitality technology is reshaping the overall hospitality industry.
Now, let’s dwell deeper into these and we can ensure that hospitality technology is making things more interesting for both the industry professionals and end-users.
Let’s check out how it’s going to do so in 2019 and beyond.
AI and Data Analytics one of the top Hospitality Technology Trends
This is probably the most important one in the hospitality technology trends list of 2019.
Artificial intelligence (AI) gave the information technology industry the much-needed rejuvenation and now AI is almost into everything.
AI is redefining the hospitality industry in many ways.
Well, our very own Hospitality industry is still cautious in terms of diving deep into AI. Although, few of the hotels are already using or rather testing AI.
Before we proceed, please have a look at the short video by Gartner to show 10 strategic technology trends of 2018 which are extremely relevant in 2019 as well.
These are not specific to the technology in the Hospitality industry but it does the required technology priming of mind.
While AI is going to give new dimensions of the Hospitality industry through helping manage big data and in the management and integration of booking platforms, it will take customer service to the next level.
Data analytics is further helping the hotel industry to better understand customers and manage customer base effectively.
Image Courtesy- Silver Touch Technologies
Hospitality industry through data analytics can now understand and serve the customer better. Can there be better news for an industry that thrives on service?
2. Digital Key in the Hotels
Mobile technology has now enabled hotels to introduce digital key.
Hilton Hotels already have this in the beta phase. All travellers need to do is to download an app and the barcode they receive upon booking can act as a digital key.
Other hotel chains are expected to follow the same starting from 2018.
In 2019 digital keys have become more common than what hospitality pundits might have expected. This is how hospitality technology can transform the experience of customers.
The digital keys have ensured hassle-free and secure entry and exit for guests in the hospitality industry.
This is a hospitality technology trend that’s rocking the hotel sector.
All Hotel Managers and Restaurant owners must take note of this.
It’s so fascinating that something as simple as a door key could undergo such a tremendous breakthrough.
That’s the power of innovation.
Instead of using an electronic keycard, guests can now open their hotel room doors with their smartphones, tablets or smartwatches.
Amazing, isn’t it?
According to Skift, the keyless entry hospitality technology that debuted in 2014 is now being adopted by almost all major hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott, Accor etc.
- Mobile Check-ins and Check-outs
This was one of the top Hotel Industry Technology trends in 2018 and continues to improve in 2019.
This is partly catching on because of the mobile-operated key locks.
NFC technology is now making the leap from airport check-ins to hotel check-ins — and guests love the convenience!
What’s more, mobile check-ins enables hotels to stay on top of their room availability and better optimise per-room revenue.
Even better, this hospitality technology allows them to offer late check-outs for an additional charge.
Hotel brands such as Hilton and Starwood are already reaping big from this hospitality technology for hotels.
3. Blockchain in the Hospitality Industry
We have heard a lot about Blockchain with over $2 billion invested already in Blockchain.
Now think of the issues within the hospitality industry due to fraudulent transactions. The cases are numerous.
With Blockchain as a digital ledger that is incorruptible, the hospitality industry is set to benefit if incorporated properly.
May it be payments, supply chain management or customer loyalty programme Blockchain might very well revolutionize the Hospitality industry.
This is another novel technology term that is replacing voice over Wi-Fi technology.
This is one of the Hospitality Technology trends that may very well catch up in 2019.
It is a mobile-enabling technology that offers hotel several sizzling features without forcing them to get tied to a fixed location.
5. Virtual reality to enhance the travel experience
Japan has come up with a great Travel experience which teleports travellers to multiple global destinations.
You can take a two-hour flight where you can travel around the globe in a virtual environment. You can have takeoff and landing experience, lovely meal as well as the city tour of your favourite city.
In a similar experiment, Marriott Hotels have come up with virtual reality travel right from the room.
Now, this virtual reality although not a new technical term, has never realised the expanse it can achieve. 2018 may be the year when more and more organisations start using the same to enhance the customer experience.
6. The Rise of the Round-the-Clock, Virtual Concierge
The hospitality industry is facing cutthroat competition. The Hotel industry is extremely competitive. Thus, Information technology in the Hotel industry is more important than ever today.
Hotels can attract a new breed of customers by integrating technology in all aspects. However, technology is in an invariable state of flux and is constantly unlocking new opportunities aimed at improving customer satisfaction and boosting internal efficiency.
So how does technology make a difference when it comes to beating the competition? Simply put, technology makes life easier for many guests, and here is how.
When it comes to hospitality technology for hotels, the virtual concierge is all the rage right now. And for good reason.
With this nifty hotel tech, guests don’t have to walk to or call the helpdesk.
That’s right; the virtual concierge does everything, it helps guests make dining reservations, ask for driving directions, check entertainment tickets, book spa appointments as well as order in-room service, housekeeping, additional towels, and whatnot.
Image Courtesy- HospitalityAwards
Virtual concierge is so hot right now in hospitality tech that it has aroused the attention of Caesars Entertainment, Yotel, Aloft, and other Top hotel chains.
It certainly takes the pressure off of hotel staff, so they can focus better on other people-facing tasks.
This is definitely the hospitality technology to watch out for over the next years.
7. Use of IoT and Smart Things to Spruce Up Personalised Experiences
Today’s tech-savvy guests, especially millennials, are often looking for the personalised hotel experience.
That’s where the use of Internet of Things (Or IoT) and smart in-room gadgets come in handy.
By creating customised stays, hotels can boost loyalty and encourage future bookings.
Image Courtesy- WebNMS
IoT is already impacting multiple industries in positive ways. The impact of IoT on the hospitality industry is expected to increase over the coming years.
- An Enhanced Guest Experience in Hotels
The latest advancements of IT in the hotel industry have played an instrumental role in enhancing the guest experience.
The hotels can now grab the attention of the guests right from the time they visit the website. Winning customers loyalty is now within reach of all the hotels.
Information Technology in the Hotel industry has made it easy to cover all the touchpoints for the Guest experience.
Image Courtesy- Jdrazure
Hotels and restaurants now use guest apps to offer better, more personalised experience throughout their stay.
These apps deliver everything, from emergency info to deal notification and hotel services.
Hospitality Technology is all about making the customer experience better.
8. Online Booking and Reputation management
The most obvious manifestation of information technology in the hotel industry is in the bookings. The internet has helped to make it easy to access information.
Data containing the check-in and check-out times, hotel rates, facilities and amenities on offer, as well as other vital information allows guests to make informed choices.
By default, people now rely on various online platforms and Best Travel Websites to look for accommodation and make bookings; therefore, the hotel industry has capitalised on this.
However, Direct booking is becoming one of the Latest Marketing trends in the Hotel industry.
Let’s discuss the numbers before we start the discussion of the importance of Online reputation management for the Hotels.
93% of people use online reviews while deciding to book a hotel.
53% of the potential guests would not book a hotel if there are no online reviews.
Data source and Image source- Why is Hotel Reputation Management Important?
9. Information Systems in the Hotel Industry
Greater use of IT in the Hotel industry has ensured easier entry of the Information Systems even in Budget hotels.
Information systems were previously a thing only in the reach of luxury hotels.
Commoditization of software has made it easier for even Limited Service Hotels and Select Service Hotels to have guests experience enhancing and analytics software installed on top of the regular point of sale software.
We have another post dedicated to Information Systems in the Hotel industry that discusses this in detail.
2. AI and Machine Learning is redefining the Hospitality Industry- here’s how
Artificial intelligence (AI) is sort of a trending phrase these days, perhaps most notably for widespread speculations that robots will ultimately replace humans in the not so very distant future.
In short, Artificial intelligence, or AI, refers to the robot-like performance or the exhibition of intelligent behaviours and qualities by computers or machines.
The one definition of AI we love from Wikipedia is:
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a computer program or machine to think and learn.”
Although the term seems shiny and new now, the concept of artificial intelligence is not a new one at all. As a matter of fact, it existed as early as the 1950s.
Hotels across the globe have realized the importance of incorporating contemporary digital technology as a means of driving continued growth and revenue.
AI is being used in the hotel industry in the following ways and in future, the scope is just going to balloon further:
- In-Person Customer Service
Image Courtesy- OTRAMS
Case in point, an AI robot adopted by Hilton that is known as Connie can provide guests with information that they need when they interact with it.
Connie is designed to learn and adapt to human beings so the more it interacts with people; the more effective it will be in the future.
There are a lot more Robots operating in the hotel industry already.
We have a post dedicated to the Robots in the Hospitality Industry to showcase how they will rock.
They would add value to the industry supporting human interaction, especially for services during odd time and services that require lifting weight or automation.
This is how AI can take customer service to the next level:
- Room service can be taken care of by Robots- In 2014, start-up Savioke piloted the robotic butler for the service and hospitality industry. This is set to get more visibility in 2019 and beyond.
- California-based Residence Inn LAX also introduced a series of robots tailored for the hotel industry. Several other companies have followed the trend and 2019 will see a rise of these bots.
Image Courtesy- Sandbotrobot
- Real-time order taking and in-room services based on customer presences are now within reach.
- Automated features in the room and food & beverage services customised around individual customers is now possible.
- Think of the impact AI can play in your travel plans, booking system, aviation and so on.
- Use of Chatbots is set to become an impactful hospitality technology trend in 2019 and beyond. A lot of hotels have already started using it and this is set to cover more ground in the coming years.
Let’s have a closer look at the AI based technology trends now:
Chatbots have been extremely useful when it comes to responding to customer complaints online, as well as chat services that deal with simple customer requests.
Chatbots can engage customers at any point of the day and this kind of response time is invaluable to customers.
These would add immense value to customer support in the hotel industry which has quite a few routine queries.
And, we must keep in mind that AI is different from Machine learning. These codes can learn and adapt and upgrade themselves. Indeed, AI has the potential to redefine the hotel industry.
- Increased Role Played by Machine Learning
When it comes to hospitality technology for restaurants, machine learning, and Big Data will help managers curb rising operation costs, offer better customer service, and stay on top of efficiency.
According to Research Nester, most of the industries would be using more and more of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning.
While Healthcare and Life sciences lead the pack, Travel and hospitality don’t lag behind by much.
Expect Machine learning to play a huge role within the hospitality sector in the future.
3. Cloud Computing in Hospitality- Some Interesting Facts
Everything is being shifted to the cloud these days. The blog post you are reading now is being transferred to your device from the cloud.
Cloud Computing in hospitality has already started to play a crucial role. May it be SaaS in the Hospitality Industry or infrastructure-related services; the cloud is sure to play even a bigger role in future.
How is that interesting and what are the key facts for cloud computing in hospitality.
Cloud Computing is definitely one of the biggest innovation in the hospitality industry and for almost every other industry.
A lot of amazing hospitality apps are already powered by cloud computing in more than one way.
So, let’s present some interesting facts to amuse you.
- Businesses can save over 50% with cloud solutions as per a study by Frost & Sullivan.
So, if you are thinking about profit, this is the first thing a hotel business must implement to cut the cost in half.
Before we move forward, let’s discuss what exactly is Cloud Solution for the hospitality industry?
It’s a mixture of SaaS, PaaS and IaaS. Which means Cloud Computing in hospitality can play a big role through Software as a Service, Platform as a service and Infrastructure as a service.
How is it so? Let the below image by Computech Corporation explain it all.
So, now you see the opportunities your hotel business can have in terms of shifting some or all of your software services to the cloud and saving huge on costs.
Plus, cloud computing gives you more flexibility.
- Taking Direct Bookings from Customers is as easy as a whistle
Most of the hotel businesses pay fortunes to the Online Travel agencies as commission.
Cloud computing in hospitality has made technology available to even small and medium businesses.
Hotel businesses now don’t need to give away most of their profit to online and offline travel agencies. They can improve their own website and start taking direct bookings.
If you don’t have a money website for your organisation as yet then with cloud computing on your side, you can get started in minutes.
Best practices for improving direct bookings include using technology to your advantage. Cloud computing just makes all this a lot cheaper and convenient.
There are a lot of Hotel Management Software that specializes in Cloud-based hospitality services.
- 95% of people have used the cloud in some way or the other but are not aware of it.
So, there is a big chance that you are using cloud computing in more than one way.
It can be for saving and viewing pictures (Facebook, Dropbox etc.).
This number is even higher for the hospitality industry.
A lot believe cloud to be something of the skies or something extremely tech-heavy.
Cloud computing is just about managing things through remote services rather than through local infrastructure.
Check out a few more interesting facts here about Cloud Computing in the image by Systweak.
- By 2020 50 Billion devices would be connected by Cloud
Now that speaks volume. In order to understand your customer and to acquire them, you need to know the importance of cloud computing.
Hospitality businesses which know the importance of cloud ensure that their services are seamlessly integrated.
This helps in better customer strategy.
Data Analytics in the hospitality industry is already used to the best advantage for understanding and acquiring customers.
Cloud computing and data analytics can go hand in hand for the benefit of the business on the whole.
All this pushes your hospitality firm to be technology-heavy. But, do we really have a choice.
It’s cost advantage and automation advantage that would continue to be key to success in the hospitality industry.
- Over 87000 companies are already using Cloud services
According to Wikimedia, it is interesting to know that over 87000 companies have already migrated to the cloud.
This includes most of the top hospitality companies in the USA and the biggest hotel chains around the world.
In fact, over 65% of companies in the USA has shifted to the cloud by 2011 itself. Think of the number by now.
Check out the image below for a few other interesting facts about Cloud computing.
4. Using Data Analytics in the Hospitality Industry for more Profitability
Over the past couple of decades, technology has started to play a major role even in labour-intensive industries like the hospitality industry.
Service holds the key to success in the hospitality industry and technology has opened up every opportunity to be able to serve the customer better.
Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the game across industries and will be instrumental in maximising growth for the hospitality industry in the years to come.
Article by McKinsey & Company, the famous consulting firm, explains how data analytics can help the hospitality and travel industry immensely. For keen readers of the subject, we have ensured that a lot of resources are included for further reading.
So, welcome to the magical world of analytics.
What is Data Analytics?
Simply said, you take a data set and perform various comparison studies and calculations to draw out conclusions through the information they contain.
Back in the days, it used to be a tedious process but technology has made it mainstream in recent years and now AI is taking it a notch further.
So, what can data analytics achieve in today’s era and future?
How can data analytics further be used in the hospitality industry?
Before we dwell deeper into the topic, have a look at the image below by Spring People blog.
The image gives a fair idea of how much impact data analytics can have on various industries.
Discussing specifically for the benefit of the hospitality industry now.
How can data analytics benefit the hospitality industry?
Analytics India decodes how various top Hotel chains in the world use analytics to their benefits.
To quote their study in nutshell here’s how a couple of hotel chains are actively using analytics to maximise profits.
- Marriott uses Group Pricing Optimiser (GPO) that works on various price models based on statistics of various market segments. It enables Marriott to sell the way a specific set of customers want to buy.
- Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) uses Operational analytics, Advanced analytics and Predictive analytics. They use these to satisfy stakeholders, to better understand customers and to proactively anticipate and get ready for future trends.
Let’s move towards some actionable approaches in data analytics to benefit the hospitality industry.
- Leveraging Big Data for Forecasting and personalised offers
Big Data insights can multiply profits of Hotels and hospitality organisation.
This can be used for forecasting analytics, better expense management and greater customer satisfaction.
According to Silver Touch Inc, Big Data insights can improve the profits of an organisation by 200% if it is used for yield management, sending out personalised offers to customers, managing Omni channels for booking effectively and improving forecasting.
Big Data made simple explain this effectively on how hotels can use Big data analytics to maximise revenue.
Check out these details in the image below on Big Data layers.
This can help integrate various channels and open up new avenues for revenue creation for the hotel industry.
- Artificial intelligence and data analytics- Rise of Robots in the Hospitality Industry
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already used in various pilot projects across the travel and hospitality industry.
Data analytics in the hospitality industry is going to be a game-changer for growth strategy.
Machine learning, natural language processing etc. is revolutionising how the data was used to be interpreted earlier.
Customer service both online and offline can get an immense boost to offer personalised and unique service to every customer using the available data.
Unique customer service and better forecasting will make features like virtual butler a commodity in the hotel industry in future.
- Customised product recommendation in real-time
According to the article by McKinsey and Company, data analytics can help hospitality organisations upsell conveniently.
Linking predictive analytics with geolocation data can do wonders for selling recommended products in real-time on-property.
This is much more than coupons and promotion.
This is about knowing what’s in the mind of the customers and then offering just that.
How cool, isn’t it?
- Chatbots to use data analytics for driving constant growth and revenue
Data can be used in a magical way to predict and then offer service in a most personalised manner.
An article at HospitalityNet sums up this through an image beautifully on how the Hotel is converting to a Botel in the 21st century.
With Siri and Alexa already at our service in various hotels, chatbots are going to venture in voice-activated services and digital assistance for better user experience.
Robots in the Hospitality industry are going to be more common than we can think of.
A lot of hotels have already started using them as pilot projects and have achieved good success and rave reviews from customers so far.
Hope you found insights on hospitality technology interesting. Information Technology in the Hotel Industry is becoming more and more important to gain a competitive edge.
Hoteliers are becoming more and more competent in terms of handling IT to skyrocket their businesses. The Hotel industry has acknowledged the importance of IT which is a win-win situation for all.
Hotels can now focus on providing quality Hospitality services and best experience and leave the rest to the Information Technology.
Cloud computing today impacts almost all companies and all devices. So, whether it’s about social media or your money website, you must be aware of the benefits of cloud computing.
This is even more important for the hospitality and travel industry. We are sure that most of you agree on the same by now.
We have several other resources on this Global Hospitality Portal covering more about Hospitality trends, Astonishing hospitality facts and pretty much every other thing related to the hospitality world.
There is much more to technology and trends in the hospitality industry than what has been mentioned in this post.
Technology in the hotel industry is creating opportunities like never before.
Most of the innovation in the hospitality industry is powered by technology.
There is always a flip side to everything and technology also has its own pros and cons.
However, as far as growth in the hospitality industry is concerned, technology to help understand the customer better using data analytics seems like a clear winner for the future.
Exciting times ahead!