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?
Contactless tech will have a part to play across the entire hospitality spectrum at some level. The magnitude of its role will depend on the type of property - 100% at self-service outlets where there is zero human interaction, reducing (but not disappearing altogether) at the traditional establishments that have always prided themselves on the "personal touch".
The successful solutions will afford flexibility and cost savings to the hotelier without altering the characteristics that define the hotel. Whilst for the guests, instantaneous gratification via their own device will support health and safety benefits as we learn to live with Covid for the foreseeable future. The reality is that hospitality is not a one size fits all environment and some hoteliers will extend the adoption of contactless solutions more than others. One thing is for sure, Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of such technology, the genie is now out of the bottle and there is no going back.