Where is Hospitality-Tech Headed in The Post-pandemic Era?

Where is Hospitality-Tech Headed in The Post-pandemic Era?

Authored by Pallab Goswami, Vice President- EVPL, Business Head, EaseRoom & EaseMedia

The hospitality sector has been hit hard by the COVID crisis and travel screeched to a sudden halt. Closed borders and travel restrictions brought the entire travel & tourism industry to a standstill, devastating hotels, airlines, cruise ship operators, casinos, and tourism-related businesses globally. All of them stood empty for months. Now that time has come when many parts of the world have begun to reopen their economies and the hospitality sector is gearing up to open their doors once again. Months of self-isolation have dramatically changed how people behave. Now they depend highly on technology to meet their daily needs and prefer:

  • Streaming entertainment 
  • Videoconferencing with family 
  • Online shopping/ Online food orders
  • Contactless delivery
  • Using payment apps/services 
  • Virtual reality meet-ups 
  • Virtual exercise programs

The pandemic may be a temporary disruption, but with the help of emerging technologies, the hospitality sector will continue to flourish and redefine the future. In an environment of low revenues, high fixed costs, less asset returns, and the need to conserve capital, hospitality organizations will need to determine which areas to prioritize and invest in. They will need to find the right balance between investment and conservation, one that achieves the highest ROI. Let’s find out how the latest technologies will contribute in hospitality industry.

Facial Recognition Technology

Face biometrics could be deployed in various areas in the hospitality industry to secure and improve a range of customer experiences. This can reduce human error in processing guests’ bookings with a customized, contactless and faster check-in and check-out experience. Bio-metrics has been used to usher in a new age of seamless authentications, and this could benefit hotel processes and customer purchases. For example, in your hotel, you would use your fingerprint to unlock your room. Now this could change and simplify the check-in and checkout processes in so many hotels.

Voice Search & Voice Control
A growing number of guests or customers are turning to voice search in order to find hotels, restaurants and cafés. Even demand for voice control is also growing which includes everything from the use of smart speakers in hotel rooms, allowing for control of the various in-room devices, to automated order taking in restaurants & cafes. Many hotel brands have now begun to install AI voice assistants such as Alexa and Amazon Echo in their newly updated Smart Rooms. These voice-activated butlers can do everything from searching for local attractions to dimming your lights.

VR Travel Experience
Before the pandemic, virtual reality (VR) technology was not much touched upon in the hospitality sector. The real value of Virtual Reality in hospitality industry emerged during the lockdowns when passionate travellers sat at home in their sweatpants, wishing they were somewhere else. The pandemic has prompted a flood of creative VR travel experiences crafted by a diverse range of providers. Hotels, airline, tourism boards travel agencies  have jumped on VR as an opportunity to showcase local attractions, market destinations or entice customers. Of course, VR travel will never be a replacement for the real thing – and nor does anyone in the hospitality industry want it to be.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems, Machine Learning (ML) and Big Data are already significant to any industry shaped by online search engines and booking apps. New developments in these technologies have a huge potential to revolutionize the hospitality industry and to help hotels as they recover from the impact of the pandemic.

If the current services are altered using latest technology keeping the customer's safety in mind, hospitality industry can get back the old shape and trust. Travelers will have a priority for hygiene and much more expectations of contactless services. When hoteliers invest in technology and process improvements, there will be greater revenue in a long run. All of the losses faced due to the lockdown can easily be retrieved and business can become normal with the help of these technologies.

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