The contactless guest journey is here to stay, or is it?
— 16 experts shared their view
Created as a consequence of COVID-19, CONTACTLESS TECH is at the heart of the paradigm shift that most industries, especially those in Travel and Hospitality have had to lean on to ensure their survival and avert the spread of the virus. The Guest journey comprising numerous round and square pegs has had to be re-imagined and at the same time dynamically re-engineered to cope with the fluidity and complexity of requirements and compliance needs of the new now. Technology has inevitably had to undergo change constantly, and at lightning speed, and customer investments are sometimes forcibly made to enable this industry to ride the trend, and comply with safety and customer requirements as well as deal with staff scarcity and rising costs.
All of these have shrunk and recalibrated the guest experience to fit the palm-of-the-hand, with nearly all the once human-centric touchpoints, becoming touchless. Some may say this development has turned this once service-oriented business, into what many might consider soulless…
During this pandemic, face-to-face human contact has been one of the casualties of our existence. As we emerge and learn to co-exist with COVID, how will that impact the contactless journey going forward? Will we experience another change where contactless tech becomes hybrid - with a dash or more of humanity thrown into the mix?
Founder | CEO | Futurist
As a futurist, I can only hope the trend is here to stay.
In a recent article, I expressed my feeling towards the topic.
Here's an extract:
It's not so far-fetched to think that, in the near future, three different types of hotels could coexist, no longer classified on the basis of stars or reputation, but on the basis of the percentage of “biological staff” employed.
- Budget hotels will likely benefit the most from the replacement of human employees with robots, self-check-in kiosks, and other automatisms, and it is not difficult to think that they will be able to offer extremely competitive prices thanks to the reduction in the cost of human personnel;
- On the other side of the spectrum, I predict that there will be human-centered hotels, completely (or almost completely) run by human beings. The assurance of being welcomed and accompanied for the entire duration of the stay by real people will be a “plus.” The luxury guests of the future may be willing to pay extra for this human-centered service, just as today they are willing to pay extra for handmade items, compared to those created on a larger, industrial scale. Therefore, a higher ADR would compensate to the increase in costs associated with the use of human personnel;
- In the middle (and here I would include the vast majority of hotels) there will be "hybrid" properties, where the human and artificial elements coexist, maintaining a service that is as human as possible but reducing costs and improving processes wherever feasible, in a sort of "technological humanism."