Hospitality technology, post covid.
09 April 2021 12:52
As hospitality prepares to open its doors to the public, the preparation of a safer environment is at the forefront of every hotel professional's mind.
General managers patrol properties, clutching clipboards, checking checklists and ticking boxes, and could be forgiven for thinking - will hospitality ever be the same again?
We can't answer that of course, but we can shed some light into the pandemic's influence on tech adoption in the hospitality industry.
Simply speaking, (it's of no surprise that) Covid 19 has accelerated the advancement of tech in the hospitality industry; smart services that might have previously been labelled progressive or luxurious, are starting to become a requisite for hotels looking to remain competitive in this post-pandemic world.
So, of course, it's a critical period of time for hotels looking to invest in the right technology.
Mission Critical - implementing the right technology
But what is the right technology?
A real head-scratcher of a question, considering the glut of different products and services jostling for attention in today's tech heavy marketplace. And not made any easier by the even greater importance of getting it right - a hotel can't afford a bad investment at the best of times, let alone following a year's business hiatus.
So, investing in, and implementing the right technology is where Airwave enters the fray - but at the risk of disappointing you, we're not going to list what you need, where to find it, and how to implement it - quite simply, because every hotel is different and a one size fits all solution is not the answer.
Fear not however, we can recommend a few very simple boxes to tick ahead of investment in post-covid technology - and you won't be surprised to see that much of our advice centres around the delivery of a contactless technology experience:
- Start with the basics - reliable, robust, high-speed Wi-Fi is critical, not just in the guest-rooms and bar, but throughout the hotel. Wi-Fi should not support your technology infrastructure, it should underpin it...
- Empower the guest - few things in life are as predictable as your guest being addicted to their phone. So why not leverage this? Allow your guest's smartphone to be a technical hub. Virtual remote control? tick. Room service ordering via an app? tick. Keyless door entry? tick. Google Chromecast? tick. You get the point. The most powerful piece of technology a hotel owns, isn't owned by the hotel...
- Make it customer friendly - the golden rule. If your technology is not discoverable (do your guests know it exists?!), intuitive and easy to use, you might as well kiss goodbye to your tech adoption. Ideally, technology should not need a comprehensive set of instructions.
- Paper instructions, are you mad? - simple instructions are fine of course. However, make them digital. You need to be removing paper signage from the hotel room, not adding it.
- What's with that remote control? - research has shown that the in-room remote control is dirtier than a dung-beetle's bedroom. We paraphrase a little, but even pre-covid, your guests probably eyed the room's remote control with suspicion. If you feel that a virtual remote control solution isn't for you, at least offer a wipe-clean version that can be safely sanitised at the end of each guest's stay.
- Use digital signage - despite a smorgasboard of compelling benefits, digital signage hasn't really made much of a splash in the hospitality industry. Now's the time to take the plunge. Recognise its benefit as a contactless, quick and efficient method of communicating H&S protocol or facilitating occupancy control. For those that really want to flex signage's muscle, why not think about sanitiser dispensing signage or even thermal detection & people counting technology?
And of course...
- Make it scalable - think about the future, and think about how your hotel and clientele might change over the next few years. Can your systems adapt and scale accordingly?
- Don't be scared to innovate... - think about IoT, how it can be incorporated and how it can improve the guest's experience.
- ....but be realistic... - but don't go over the top. Balance spend with the likelihood that the technology serves a realistic purpose, and is likely to be used by your guests. Whilst robotic maids might seem pretty cool, try and avoid doing too much, too soon...