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?
The continued development of the contactless guest experience during hotel stays is the new norm and that is a good thing. Hoteliers have the unique opportunity to set a new tone for how they communicate and provide personalization to their guests. This is done through working alongside tech partners to integrate intuitive systems into everyday processes. Connecting modern communication tools, i.e., apps and SMS texting, with hotel operations helps to meet travelers where they are, on their phone or mobile device. Front desk and concierge services can be adapted and moved to a hotel app to allow for mobile check-in, keyless entry, and beyond, putting more services and amenities at a guests' fingertips. These tech integrations work to create more memorable experiences for guests through intentional interactions rather than taking away from the human to human connection. Contactless communication gives hotels the power to adhere to both the socially distanced travel landscape while offering unique individual touches that are synonymous with an unforgettable hotel stay.
Simultaneously, these same solutions work to better equip staff with an easy-to-use digital assistant for everyday task management. Recent staffing shortages felt across the industry have placed a strain on individual employees by increasing their workload. This is where the right tech platform comes into play to work as a digital organization and task management assistant. Digital tech communication creates a way for staff to assist with multiple guest requests in real-time. From the hotel management standpoint, the same platform enables to-dos to be assigned to multiple employees at once while also providing timely alerts on the progress of each task. Working alongside a hospitality-specific solutions provider will help to establish accountability and empower a smaller team to manage the day-to-day.
Social-distance and digital communication preferences will continue to dominate the hospitality industry. Hoteliers that adapt to work existing technology that speaks to the preferred contactless experience into the guest journey will find themselves ahead of the curve.