The current global situation is forcing us to re-think the traditional hospitality business model. Safety, cleanliness, and social distancing are issues that are important to customers and will remain so until long after the current COVID-19 crisis has ended; but how the Hospitality Industry and hoteliers, in particular, respond to these demands is a key factor in their survival.

The key role

Technology plays a vitally important role in meeting these new challenges and maintaining operational effectiveness. The good news is that many of the technologies needed by hoteliers today are already in place, they just have not been used.

IT-systems have replaced humans in many areas of hospitality operations, allowing them to reduce costs in areas such as recruitment, salaries, tax, as well as introducing programs to help maintain employee motivation.

Sending your client the right message has never been more important. Personalized letters that contain interesting and relevant details will allow you to gain customer information and even upsell additional features or products. These tasks are handled by technologies that can store guest preferences, allowing the hotelier to offer them their favorites and steer them towards complementary products.

TNG allows you to enter detailed information on each guest and create multi-level loyalty programs with any content. Samples of guest preferences can be taken, and depending on the objectives of the hotel, used in a finely tuned direct marketing campaign.

It also has features that will help you to interact with "soon to arrive" customers, informing them on how to make their stay more memorable and comfortable, and for those who have just left, requests for comments on their "stay experience". Pre -and post-stay customer communication features are already in place, they are just waiting to be activated.

Customers also require attention during their stay, so instead of calling the front office, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based chatbots can answer their questions about the hotel services and give them fast answers. Whilst the chatbots can answer all the standard questions, service requests would be transferred to the department responsible for fulfilling them.

Technology can help you with room service. Delivery robots are becoming more popular with some are already working in hotels; they are bringing customers extra towels, pillows, and room-service in a period when social distancing is becoming far more important.

Contactless technologies

Contactless solutions have become irreplaceable within the hospitality industry and it will remain this way when the pandemic ends. The new generation of customers will have used technology and mobile phones from their childhood, so their priority will be access to services without any human contact or too many clicks.

Web registration and mobile check-in will make every step in the process simple and quick, with a minimum of delay or waiting time. These types of solutions also eliminate concerns related to safety and hygiene at a hotel, for both staff and guests.

Receiving payment via a bank link, which the hotel sends to the guest after making a reservation as a payment link, is another element of the booking sequence that can be incorporated. Another variant would be the installation of a kiosk where your guest can scan their passport or ID and check-in without any staff needing to be in attendance. In summary, a hotel guest no longer needs to go to the reception and interact with staff to either pay or get their room key.

OPERA Cloud has many integrations with partner companies that can perform all the traditional hotel tasks without the need to have any personal contact. Mobile solutions can be used for guest interaction with the front desk and there are web-based reservation options for all in-house services.

Pure air

The current pandemic has changed our view on what is "safe travel" and what measures are needed to provide us with a clean service environment. The viruses are not about to disappear, consequently, the travel business must learn to live with them. Cleaning the surfaces and using personal protection is only just one part of the solution, providing a safe environment through the purification of air is another. Public places, including hotel rooms, all harbor harmful particles and providing these areas with a clinically proven virus free service environment is part of the challenge. Security for your clients is key in the re-launch of the travel industry and your business.

The influence of technology is increasing every year, and the onset of a global pandemic has given it a much more powerful impetus. All over the world, we know of many hotels that are taking advantage of the new technology, including robots. I believe that hospitality will soon be taken over by technology, and as a result, it will become both affordable and comfortable. Only luxury hotels will retain the "human service" and they will charge highly for this approach, this is why the investment in technology is essential for the majority of customers.

About HRS

Founded in 1990, HRS Hospitality & Retail Systems was created with the aim of providing a superior customer experience, both for service industry companies and their clients. Now, HRS provides innovative management solutions for hotels, restaurants, retail chains, stadiums, spas and fitness clubs. HRS has an impressive portfolio of products and services; these include pre-project analysis, hardware and software supply, strategic IT consulting, solutions implementation and integration, staff training and consulting, 24/7 technical support, plus a wide range of professional customer services. The company has developed an excellent reputation for providing quality services together with a strong global presence. HRS has established itself not just as an IT solution provider but also as a proactive contributor to the hospitality industry.