At the outset, it is important to understand that a pandemic like COVID has changed life in its entirety. Behaviors, priorities, and expectations have changed. Many businesses, verticals or solutions that existed/exist today will need to undergo transformations. As in most industries, the hospitality and travel industries also need to adapt to the new normal. Spring back to the old normal cannot be expected. Recovery will be a slow and gradual process. Expectations and priorities will be different from guests and hotel management. Hoteliers will look for frictionless, touch-free and self-service solutions that can change the entire guest experience. Traditional PMS should evolve to cloud and mobile "front of the house solutions" that encompasses Booking, Check-in, Check-out, In stay, Restaurant and Self-service solutions. FX1 cloud & mobile platform from IDS Next is designed and developed to manage these future challenges.
We can expect to see some of these changes:
Guests will prefer direct bookings to ensure they understand the sanitation and hygiene protocols maintained by the hotel. Even independent hotels will now consider enhanced reservation modules with clear and concise content. The ability to make immediate decisions that include rates, discounts and add-ons will become a necessity. It is important that the cloud PMS has an extensive reservation module that serves this purpose.
FX CRS module has extensive guest booking features that cater to direct booking.
The front desk may soon become an entity of the past . Hotels will adopt mobile solutions to enable remote check-ins in the case of airport pick-ups or even walk-ins . Contactless mobile self check-in solutions are expected to be the new normal for most pre-booked guests.
QR code based check-in of guests and kiosk solutions can facilitate self check-in from multiple service points in the lobby area . This will enable maintaining of social distancing and instil confidence for incoming guests. Digital signature of registration cards and electronic touchless collection of identification documents will become the new norm. Digital room keys and/or sanitised key dispensers will be another feature that will make touchless and safe check-in a reality.
Guest rooms are expected to be minimalistic. Objects like magazines, room information directories, room service menus and mini bar menus may be replaced with digital sanitised tablets that manage housekeeping requests, room service ordering , mini bar menus , TV controls and even electrical controls. Using the room phone to talk to a concierge may become a thing of the past. Digital concierges will become the need and part of the cloud PMS .
FX Roomate is a digital valet that can be placed in the rooms to manage these operations seamlessly.
Post-COVID, dining experiences are expected to undergo radical transformations. Guests may no longer be greeted upon arrival nor ushered to their tables. They may have to locate their own tables and seat themselves . Scanning the menu and placing orders may be done using QR code based contactless solutions on either the guest's phone or digital tablets placed at the table.
Arrival and departure protocols are different in hotels. Hence, going forward, departure areas itself could be designed as a separate area by hotels. Settling bills in the comfort of their rooms will be the expectation of all guests. Most of us already use our phones to make payments, whether through online sites , payment gateways or e-wallets. This will extend to checkouts also . The departure area may only require a key drop box and a cashier with a mobile checkout solution that will scan the QR code to initiate your checkout in case of cash settlements .
FX Roomate and FX GeM modules of FX 1 platform has the ability to send bills to guest phones/digital tablets placed in the room, manage mini bar billing and enable settlement through any of these online methods .
Focus on efficiency and employee friendly solutions.
A mobile PMS is very important to facilitate the safety of employees in hotels. This reduces the unnecessary movement of employees from work stations to rooms or service areas . Mobile based apps can help housekeeping staff to perform their duties with minimum movement and maximum efficiency . Mobile based applications that can take orders can facilitate minimal movement in restaurants to punch in orders at the POS stations. The mobile user experience is intuitively designed keeping self-learning in mind.