Digital Innovation has taken a new spin across the travel and hospitality industry. While many are grappling with this change, these disruptions provide an opportunity to reevaluate the way businesses are run and plan for a new school of travelers. The travel industry has seen several disruptions over the years as they made a transition from brick and mortar retail to online and e-commerce bookings.
Today, in a post-pandemic environment, hotels are turning to new-age tech enhancements like IoT solutions with sensors, devices, virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and more interactive technologies, that are known to enrich guest experiences and ultimately help boost business revenue and save operational costs.
According to David Singleton, Partner, Strategic Advisor and Coach at Socius Group, a bespoke business development company that enable companies to grow across the Middle East, “I focus on using technology to monitor and drive reputation in communities, optimize manpower through clever solutions that link learning and development with staff scheduling for example.”
Singleton who moderated at the “Leveraging Technology to increase Operational Efficiency and ROI” panel at the recently concluded AHIC 2021 said, “ROI has always been a driver for owners, but never more than before. From curated meals to monitoring waste management to supply chain and supplier management, it has all become critical.”
Hotels today are adapting to a varied range of technological enhancements – from chatbots and voice-enabled services, mobile keys and digital menus to AI, zero touch, connectivity, face recognition, advanced energy management, linguistic tools for translation, virtual reality, Gamification and EI for staff development and training.
These enhancements not only help with customer satisfaction but also help optimize operational efficiency and boost productivity. Companies must re-evaluate their technology spends to prioritize this digital-innovation to push their business forward.
“Tech advancement is moving faster than we could have ever imagined. The challenge for owner is to ensure that tech has a place and a purpose. While tech will never replace the human touch there is a risk that human interaction may reduce – minimally.”
“Embracing tech and balancing the guest experience with the disciplined requirements for constant focus on ROI is a dynamic skill and whilst not a new demand, but an ever growing one. Many see tech as a cost, not an enabler as it is such a minefield,” he added.
According to Singleton, the hotel industry is also seeing a sudden and unexpected shortfall in talent today. In today’s environment, it has become essential to re-train the talent with the ‘technology of tomorrow’— one that combines human and machine intelligence so that they are aligned with the company goals.
“Even the best of the operators, who have always focused on attracting and retaining the best in the market place, are using tools like Flow Learning and Development which guides the employee from the day they start and every day thereafter, using interactive learning and distance monitoring by the owners.”
“Afterall, it is known that highly satisfied employees serve their colleagues and guests better, leading to comparatively higher Guest satisfaction and profitability in the long run,” he added.