Which technology trends are revolutionising the hospitality sector?
03 October 2016
Modern technology is developing at a pace like never before, and these advancements are changing the way in which the hospitality sector is able to conduct its business, but is also increasing the expectations of its customers. Whilst these tech changes shouldn’t be ignored, they can be difficult for hotels, restaurants and leisure providers to keep up with, let alone plan them into future IT plans. However, the savings and improvements to an organisation that technology can deliver are tangible and proven to work.
Here are four of many IT trends that are enhancing hospitality organisations across the UK:
Hotel, restaurant and café guests no longer see WiFi as a perk but a must-have necessity as part of their visit. Guests now expect to be able to connect to the internet seamlessly and without too many interruptions. This is leading to more and more of the hospitality industry to invest in a better WiFi infrastructure to ensure their guests can use their devices on premise with complete ease.
Implementing an intelligent guest WiFi system offers benefits to the owner of the network, as well as its customers. In addition to improving the customer experience, when implemented correctly guest WiFi can be used as a powerful data collection and marketing distribution tool, and lets the hospitality industry create custom login portals, and even do things like allow users to pay online, or offer them vouchers for a return visit.
Mobility and Automation:
Mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones have revolutionised the way we use technology across all facets of business, and the hospitality industry is no exception to this. Nowadays, guests are looking to be able to do everything with ease. Within airports for instance, the implementation of technology makes it no longer necessary to stand in a queue to be able to check in, and jetsetters can now check in at their own pace either before they arrive at the airport or via their mobile phones.
Guests are seeking the ability to order and pay for food via their personal devices, check into venues through automated kiosks, and be able to use the internet whilst moving throughout the premise without any problems.
Within the hospitality sector, the use of tablets can eliminate the old-fashioned manual check in as staff can instead greet their guests at any location, reducing the hardware costs associated with static reception desks. Mobility solutions like this are not just reserved for large global chains and franchises; due to the low capital expenditure needed for portable hardware and reduced software costs, mobile is a very viable option for the independent business too.
With cloud computing becoming the norm across many business sectors, and with so many advantages for the hospitality sector, it would be unsurprising to see hotels and leisure businesses alike replacing their legacy onsite IT infrastructure with a hosted solution very soon.
For the hospitality industry, migrating physical hardware to the cloud instead of refreshing old hardware can save a lot of money up front, and make ongoing management of costs more predictable. There are no initial expensive hardware costs, and associated expenses such as in-house staff to maintain the system are removed and replaced with a subscription “pay for what you use” model.
In addition to the potential cost savings, moving a restaurant or hotel management system to the cloud also has technical and support benefits. For example, hosting software removes the IT burden of maintaining the application on site, making it much easier to get regular software upgrades.
Finally, the cloud is notorious for improving flexibility and agility of businesses. By making your network accessible from anywhere, employees and guests can utilise your resources more easily, even if your business spans multiple locations.
“Hospitality” spans many functions, ranging from catering and accommodation, to leisure facilities such as spas and golf courses. Each of these areas has traditionally operated on individual systems, which could in turn deliver a disjointed feeling for guests. By integrating these systems, businesses have the ability to provide more comprehensive management information, quicker reporting and a comprehensive view of profitability, whilst improving the guest’s user experience at the same time.
A successful integration in a hotel for example could mean combining the restaurants point of sale solution with the hotel management system. This integration means that the hotel no longer has separate revenues for different areas of the business, but instead has an all-inclusive view of revenue per guest or event. The hotel could also then use this data to pull together truly holistic reports into one, easy to use platform for valuable management, marketing and customer communications.
Modern IT is much more than an enabler that allows employees to work. It provides organisations with ways to improve their bottom lines, enhance the customer experience, and create competitive advantages over those slower to adapt.
Prodec Networks provides modern IT solutions to businesses across a range of industries. If you want to learn more about Prodec and how they can assist you in an upcoming networking project, simply get in touch today.