The pandemic has hit the hospitality industry arguably harder than nearly any other sector. However, as the industry slowly adapts to a new normal, technology will be key to giving guests a safe and enjoyable experience and increasing their loyalty.
Industry research already demonstrates this: 72% of hotel guests are more likely to return to a property if the technology they wanted was available, according to Hospitality Technology's 2019 Customer Engagement Technology Study. The study also found that hospitality providers are making first-time investments or upgrades in areas like instant messaging, mobile payments, chatbots, customer mobile apps and interactive digital signage, among others.
The hospitality industry is already leaning into technology by embracing a variety of digital capabilities. Today, guests can check in and out of a hotel on their mobile phones without ever having to visit the front desk. With a few taps on a hotel or cruise line's mobile app, they can download a QR code to access their mobile boarding pass, make restaurant reservations, book spa services and access location-based information and services thanks to the integration of beacon technology.
Hotels and cruise lines are also using technology to increase energy efficiency by monitoring and controlling energy usage in unoccupied rooms and adjusting room temperatures to customers' preferences. They're even using task management platforms to automate housekeeping and maintenance schedules and calibrate these workflows to align with occupancy rates and customers' needs.
Hilton, for example, offers its hotel guests a range of self-service tools and has essentially turned guests' smartphones into "a concierge and remote control all-in-one," allowing them to request turn-down and room service and control their room temperature and television directly from their devices. Hilton has also used beacon technology to create mobile travel guides that provide guests with information about different activities and amenities based on their real-time location.
JetBlue has tapped into the power of mobile to facilitate a self-service check-in and bag drop-off experience for passengers. It also offers a personalized dashboard on its mobile app where customers in its loyalty program can get updated information about their travel points and upcoming trips.
Data fuels all of these capabilities, and as mobile technology continues to improve the guest experience hospitality companies offer, your brand will need to become increasingly security-driven to protect all the valuable customer data you collect.