Europe has always been the guardian of traditional hospitality, high-class service based on the personal touch. However, today's realities demand new approaches where contactless technology is integrated harmoniously into the familiar European level of service. What I am referring to is the latest in cloud-based solutions, which not only meet the post-covid requirements but also create an even more enjoyable experience for the guest.

The aesthetic contactless guest experience

It is now common practice for guests to focus on hygiene standards and try to avoid unnecessary contact, including those that used to be regarded as insignificant. Handing over keys and documents at reception is one such area that can be replaced by technology, and it is the ubiquitous mobile phone that offers the best solution to the contactless experience.

Your guest does not need to give his passport to the receptionist (depending on legal requirements of the country), they can easily fill in their details through an app on their phone. There is also no need to retrieve the keys, the room door can be opened with the mobile key received on a personal device. It is important to mention here that the device in question operates in accordance with GDPR. During their stay your guest will have no need to use the traditional room telephone for any service, it will probably soon disappear anyway, a guest's own mobile device will have access to all those facilities.

However, it is important that European aesthetics remain untouched. The lobbies of old castles and traditional buildings should retain their unique style and remain superficially free of 21st-century trappings. The high technology equipment should be concealed so the unique character of each property can be maintained.

Transportable check-in

The most significant part of hospitality that cannot be replaced with technology is the personal touch. Technology usually translates into comfort and speed, but it should not be at the expense of a warm welcome.

We are now entering an age where technology will help hotels to improve and offer their guest's an even better experience. The Property Management System OPERA Cloud enables your guest to check in anywhere, in the hotel restaurant, or at the bar. The client can be drinking a glass of wine or a cup of coffee whilst a member of hotel staff checks them in via a mobile device.

For your guest, this is a far more pleasant experience with OPERA Cloud helping the staff to become more mobile and focused on their guest's needs. A guest's complete record is available to see on the tablet viewable PMS system, where options such as stay time and preferences can be easily adjusted. This option is particularly useful for general managers, allowing them to control occupancy and prices 24/7 via their mobile phones.

Most chain hotels today refer to the prospect of introducing reception free lobbies, when in fact there already many hotels opened like that across the Europe. Without OPERA Cloud it resembles a bar counter with laptops or tablets on it where the guest checks in with the help of a staff member.

Smart booking

The booking process is a very important part of a guest's journey. Today guest can easily plan multiple stays at your hotel. Reservation department can easily manage multiple reservations in one place. It looks like an online shopping basket where reservations can check in all guest data for different stays in your hotel. This smart booking process is very attractive for business travelers and hotel staff alike.

Another important part of this new approach is the opportunity to upload pictures of hotel room, amenities, additional hotel services, together with a simple interface that is easily understood by new members of staff. These solutions speed up the reservation process and upsell of additional services, making guest journey more effective for both the guest and hotel staff. After checking out the hotel can continue its relationship with a guest by sending them promotional offers, based on their unique preferences and behavior exhibited during their stay.

New technology should not be used as an excuse for a reduction in the human aspect, something which is vitally important in the hospitality industry. Every guest appreciates a warm welcome, consequently, the hotel industry should grasp the opportunity we have now to enhance the level of service through speed, simplicity, and convenience. In the very near future Artificial Intelligence (AI) implemented in the PMS will send push notifications to a guest's mobile device, this will take account of the data gathered from previous stays and existing bookings.

To safeguard the future of the hospitality industry we must be able to respond to new guest requests and requirements, and technology is the only way to go.

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.