Four tech trends shaping the future of hospitality

Four tech trends shaping the future of hospitality

Judith Cartwright, founder and managing director of Black Coral Consulting, identifies the tech trends shaping the hospitality industry for guaranteed commercial success.

Hoteliers are breathing a sigh of relief at travel’s great comeback, with surging demand filling hotel rooms and packing out restaurants once again, nowhere more so than in quick-to-recover markets like the UAE.
This new travel-happy era provides a chance to swell the coffers, recapturing revenue and reimagining the guest experience to meet new demands and trends. But in a marketplace, one that’s even more competitive – and fast-changing – than it was before, a more agile approach is needed, and that means embracing technology. Ultimately, that technology should be designed to make staff and guests happy. It should make their lives easier, so they can focus on what matters most – hospitality with heart, human connection and memorable experiences.
However, with the IT landscape constantly evolving and disruptive technologies like AI and ChatGPT shifting the goalposts, determining what tech stack to implement will help hospitality entities stay ahead of the curve, thus providing guests with a superior experience in their room and across every hotel touchpoint.
Here are four trend-based tips to cut through the tech noise to offer guests what they want the most: a best-in-class experience that beats being at home. Technology must be effortless, fast and almost unnoticed.

Seamless technology to boost human connection
Technology should be seamless to create more – not less – opportunities for human interaction, which is more relevant than ever in luxury hospitality. Using QR codes, contactless payments and apps to speed up rudimentary processes without losing the human touch is a must. Personal interactions lead to relationships, take guests on a journey, enable staff to determine likes and dislikes and provide the opportunity for upselling through personalization.

 Personalization to foster loyalty
Talking of personalization, harnessing the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence to tailor the guest experience is another transformative trend. Understanding the potential of using guest data to create bespoke experiences and offerings. By analyzing purchasing behavior, travel patterns and past interactions, hoteliers and restaurateurs can craft hyper-personalized recommendations and promotions that resonate with guests on a deeper level. This not only drives revenue but also fosters stronger guest loyalty and advocacy.

IoT and automation for optimization
Operational efficiency is the cornerstone of a successful hospitality business. Streamlining the back end and back-of-house drives efficiencies and builds resilience, which is more important than ever before. IoT enables the monitoring and control of various aspects of the properties in real time, from energy consumption to room occupancy. Automation reduces the burden on staff, enabling them to focus on more value-added tasks that directly contribute to the guest experience. Examples include deploying IoT sensors to monitor room occupancy and to adjust room temperature and lighting automatically, which not only reduces energy consumption and costs but also enhances guest comfort. Some hotels are employing robots equipped with UV-C light technology to autonomously clean and disinfect guest rooms, reducing housekeeping tasks and ensuring thorough sanitization.

Virtual and augmented reality for immersive experiences
Since the pandemic, VR, AR and the metaverse have emerged as hospitality game changers. These technologies empower guests to experience hotels, destinations, venues and amenities virtually, enticing them to make bookings with confidence. By creating immersive previews and tasters, hoteliers can ignite wanderlust and curiosity, driving both revenue and anticipation for future stays. Virtual property tours that enable potential customers to explore amenities, rooms and facilities on any device in any place have become the norm, as have AR wayfinding apps that help guests navigate large properties by overlaying directions onto their smartphone screens – the perfect option for bleary-eyed, jet-lagged guests on their first day in resort!
All these technologies, whether they are designed to drive efficiencies through streamlining or create a world-class hospitality experience, are essential to optimizing hotel revenue because they bring high-value guests to our doors. The human element of hospitality must shift, from manual operations and reporting to technology that empowers staff to act.
Going forward, data analytics must be applied across every aspect of the hotel’s operations – beyond rooms to include restaurants, spas, venues and more. This data tells an essential story about every business unit – about what the customer wants and how you as hoteliers can deliver it and the right time in the right place and at the right price. This is the linchpin of the total revenue optimization culture every hospitality venture needs to build to survive in the world we now live in. Harnessing technology and analyzing data translates to exceptional experiences that leave an indelible mark on our guests – and from that we all profit.

Keeping the customer experience and journey in mind, which needs to be better than what they can experience at home, defines the tech stack you need.

Judith Cartwright,
founder and managing director of Black Coral Consulting

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