There’s no denying that hospitality is first and foremost “a people business”. The very pinnacle of it is serving other humans in a selfless, generous, and inclusive way – and as a result, gifting them with memories that they can forever cherish.
But how does this look in an increasingly tech-driven world? And does technology really mean that we are losing the heart and soul of hospitality?
We’re a very tech-focused team here at Luke Stays, and therefore see technology as being an “enabler” in the industry.
For us, it should never be a case of “either or” – instead, technology and good old-fashioned hospitality can work hand-in-hand to create better guest experiences, all round.
Stay tuned from whichever tech machine you’re reading this blog from, to get the full insight.
What Does Hotel and Serviced Accommodation Automation Look Like?
The hospitality industry is known to fall behind technology trends in the past. But since the pandemic, a larger number of accommodation providers – than ever before – have embraced tech, to keep up with the evolving demands of travellers.
For a hotel or serviced accommodation business, automation usually means serving guests in a contactless or tech-driven way. This does not literally mean robots greeting people in the lobby (although some parts of East Asia have tried and succeeded); but simply introducing automation technology so that repetitive processes can run automatically – and often, more efficiently.
Consider things like contactless check-ins, automated locks, and automated temperature controls and room service delivery. These sleek features are becoming increasingly common among corporate and business travellers, who prefer less human interaction throughout their stay and more seamless processes.
In fact, now is the best time to keep up with these fascinating trends (which we believe will soon become “the norm”), as reports from ReviewPro suggest that at least one in four hoteliers believe automation to be the key to recovery, after the pandemic.
Many even claim that by automating the laborious areas of hospitality, employees have more time to focus their energies on other parts of the guest experience, so automation can actually improve the overall quality of hospitality.
Tech-Driven Benefits for Hotel and Serviced Accommodation Operators
As well as benefiting the guest experience, automation can be a huge advantage to the general running of an accommodation provider, if implemented correctly.
By incorporating tech automation into your business, you can streamline your team, standardise processes, gain detailed analytics, and have greater visibility of how your business is performing. Naturally, you will be cutting down on an enormous chunk of your operational costs, too – and while this can be a taboo subject where “tech replacing people” is concerned – remember, that you’ll inadvertently be creating more jobs in different areas of the company, as part of tech automation.
|Automation gives you far better control of how a hospitality business is operating, while also helping you manage large teams.
Don’t forget tech enables you to monitor and control the guest journey better, too. As you’ll be able to automate guest “touch points”, data collection, forms, etc.
|Automation gives you back a lot of time that can be better spent elsewhere in a hotel or serviced accommodation business.
Not only does it enable you to cut down on time used, but also hefty operational costs as mentioned above.
|The true magic with tech automation is the way it enables you to carve and “future proof” your operations.
The industry has learned the hard way how unforeseen circumstances (like the pandemic) can wipe out everything – for those businesses that aren’t prepared. Placing a hotel or SA business in automation mode, ensures that it will continue to run successfully, no matter what happens.
Tech Automation Doesn’t have to Replace People
The most common misconception that works against tech automation is that it replaces people.
First of all, it’s important to understand how traveller behaviour has drastically changed; and there are a large number of guests who do prefer certain parts of their experience to be fully automated. On the other hand, other guests will want a personalised and entirely face-to-face service from beginning-to-end, in which case, heavy use of automation should not be forced upon them.
But there is a place for both, in many hotel and serviced accommodation businesses.
When integrated into a business in the right way, tech automation will enhance a guests’ experience. Guests will actually appreciate not having to wait in a long line upon arriving at a property to check in, and have the liberty to make themselves comfortable in their room or property, in their own time – and at their own leisure.
We should also consider that when employees aren’t spending their time manually tending to smaller requests (that a simple chatbot could answer), then they have the time and mental capacity to address the more complex issues which require a human touch. As such, tech automation can really help hotel and serviced accommodation companies manage complaints and special requests – and really take that attention to detail up a notch.
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is facing an enormous technology boom over the years, and things like 24-7 check in and sending a text message for extra towels will soon become the norm.
We believe the question will no longer be “Should I automate my hospitality business”, but rather “What parts of my hospitality business should I automate?”.
Stay tuned with Luke Stays as we continue to share resources and the latest insights about this rapidly evolving topic.