The Contactless Customer: A More Hospitable Approach to Digital Transformation
Technology adoption has long been a challenge for the hospitality sector, mainly because traditional hospitality experiences have long been associated with human-to-human connections. However, in recent years – particularly in the wake of COVID-19 – we’ve witnessed a new wave of digital transformation sweeping its way across the industry. This is down to smart capabilities and services that were previously considered nice-to-haves, quickly becoming requirements in the post-pandemic hospitality world. The health risks of the virus, combined with travel restrictions and the economic slump, forced more or less every hospitality organisation into immediate action. Over time, it’s become apparent that those who can effectively leverage digital technologies to enhance their guest offerings will be in the best position to adapt and thrive.
So whether it’s hotels, event management, travel and tourism or gastronomy – it seems every area of the industry is tapping into new ways of digitally transforming spaces and experiences, in a bid to secure customer loyalty.
When one door shuts...
You don’t need us to tell you that the hospitality industry was one of the most severely affected by the ongoing global pandemic. The images of empty pubs and restaurants, desolate football stadiums and eerily deserted holiday resorts won’t be forgotten in a hurry. However, as these brick-and-mortar venues closed their doors, the possibility of digital transformation opened right up.
The hospitality industry is shifting gears towards focusing on the digitisation of guest experiences, especially since the implementation of social distancing rules. The buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) and the concept of personalised virtual experiences have not only become points of interest for tech-interested customers, but prerequisites for many.
The overarching key to success in digitised hospitality is the ability to quickly adapt to ever-changing scenarios – ensuring that customers once again feel safe and relaxed within their recreational spaces. To keep the public safe over the course of the pandemic, many processes were forced online, notably with Covid app venue ‘pings’, and eventually virtual vaccination passports on our smartphones. So while this accelerated shift to digital may have been born out of necessity, there’s no doubt that organisations and customers have benefited from better awareness of the industry’s contactless and virtual capabilities.
According to The Future of Hospitality Report, authored by industry auditors, Deloitte – customers are becoming much more open to the implementation of new contactless technologies. Chief amongst them are the likes of contactless bookings, self check-ins and check-outs, contactless payment, app-based services, push notifications, augmented or virtual reality and many more innovative features that minimise human-to-human interaction. It seems guests truly are embracing this digital transformation, not only just for the functional benefits, but for the chance to move past old and otherwise antiquated processes of hospitality.
The virtual visitor
When it comes to the hotel industry, there have been real expectations to reinvent the guest experience with a range of new, seamless digital approaches. To make the experience as contactless as possible, it’s important that hotels fully understand every step of the visitor journey and identify all points at which human contact can be replaced by technology. These contactless solutions include the likes of keyless room access, digital menus (often via QR codes), self-serve technology lounges, and even built-in smart assistants included within guest rooms.
The allure of hotel technology cannot be underestimated in 2022. If the hospitality economy is to bounce back from the dark days of the Covid crisis, it’s important that guests have an unforgettable experience in all hotel spaces that will leave them eager to return – or at the very least make a recommendation to a friend. The ability to effectively blend core digital amenities with traditional human services can help enforce hotel standards, as well as allow businesses to better understand their guests' behaviour at all core stages of their journey, through gathering data and customer feedback.
Location, location, location
In 2022, location technology is about so much more than checking into your favourite restaurant on Facebook. Now, location services open up a whole new world of contactless opportunities. Wayfinding technology is just one of the nifty ways customers can further reduce unnecessary human interaction, as guests are essentially guided around their indoor surroundings through a step-by-step digital solution linked to their smartphone.
Location technology also allows organisations to better understand exactly where staff and guests are located at any given time, creating all kinds of opportunities to improve the guest experience. These insights can be used for something as simple as delivering services and goods to guests wherever they are on the premises, or even tracking lost luggage that’s been electronically tagged. Although some customers may consider location technology to be a little too Big Brother, many are increasingly finding them to be a big help.
Looking to the future
As much as digital transformation and the contactless customer experience are set to be more prevalent than ever in 2022, it’s also important to remember that hospitality organisations are driven at their heart by humans. Finding the sweet spot between innovative, efficient technology and good old fashioned in-person service is essential to the future of the hospitality industry in 2022 and beyond. The key is to remember to remain agile, reactive and adaptable – no matter what future hospitality trends emerge.
Talk to us
Here at TalkTalk Business, we can help you keep up with the increasingly digital demands of customers, by offering a service package to suit every need of your venue, staff and customers. Our solutions include fast, dependable connectivity up to 10GB and a range of complementary services, from secure SD WAN, voice and cybersecurity to our brand-new CCTV services. And of course, our super-fast full-fibre broadband that you can put your total trust in.
Our team of experts are on hand to help advise you on the perfect technology offering, allowing you to operate your facilities more efficiently and effectively than ever. Embrace the digital hospitality transformation with TalkTalk Business. There’s never been a more pressing time to get started.
Get in touch with us today by giving us a call on 03301 628 519. Or alternatively speak to us via email.