Are there any quick-fix IT solutions for hotels in the post-COVID new normal?
— 12 experts shared their view
Most hoteliers agree that, at least for the foreseeable future, hotel stays will be different. Guests will be more conscious about hygiene, social distancing and expecting a contactless guest-journey. At the same time, most hotels DO NOT HAVE the means right now to make big investments in cutting-edge new tech.
So we ask ourselves, what are the inexpensive, easy, and quick to implement solutions that hotels could be implementing today to support changed guest-expectations?
RPA - Robotic Process Automation - is growing quickly. It is an application of technology, governed by business logic and structured inputs, aimed at automating business processes. It uses AI to import data from screens and forms. It is relatively quick, easy, and low-cost to implement and co-exists with other tech, eg sits alongside a PMS or finance system.
- Benefits: reduction in staff workloads, improvement in accuracy, speed. It is NOT just green screen scraping which was 1980s tech and frequently failed if screen layouts changed.
- Downsides: could be used to hide/pave over bad processes, rather than remove/fix them
Using RPA tools, a company can configure software, or a “robot,” to capture and interpret applications for processing a transaction, manipulating data, triggering responses, and communicating with other digital systems. RPA can include machine to human transfers eg for exception handling. Applications include system to system links (with/without APIs), email interpretation & handling, routine processing eg applications, invoice handling, cancellations, fraud checks, etc. Key players in the market include UI Path, Blue Prism, and Automation Anywhere. A great example is UI Path's implementation in the Mater Hospital Dublin which simplifies admin for senior nurses to give them more time to deliver primary care.