Tech Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2016
By Amy Hutchins Lead Product Manager, BookingSuite (USA), Inc. | December 13, 2015
Remember when free Wi-Fi was considered cutting-edge? Now, of course, most hotel guests expect it-if not in their room, then certainly in the common areas of the property. Hotel technology is evolving rapidly. Digital solutions are becoming the norm for solving common pain points in accommodation management. In particular, mobile technology and cloud-based software services are revolutionizing both the guest experience and the job of the hotelier. That will continue to be true in 2016. The year ahead promises to bring more developments in mobile and digital solutions for hospitality, as well as continued emphasis on the direct channel.
These days, plenty of travelers are willing to trade old-fashioned customer service
for efficiency, especially if they can get things done with their mobile device. In fact, they may even prefer it. Younger travelers, in particular, are accustomed to mobile transactions, from banking to shopping. And the hospitality industry is taking notice. Self-service solutions and mobile technology are changing the way we think about customer service, the front desk, and the nature of check-in and check-out.
The hotel self-service kiosk is a natural extension of the airport version that most of us have used. Many tech-savvy hotels have embraced this technology, and others are following suit in greater numbers. As one example, take Yotel, which is known as one of the world's most high-tech hotel brands according to CNN and others. (Their New York location has a resident robot that stores luggage!) Self-service technology plays a big part in their lobbies-and their brand. By all accounts, it's been very successful. Their data suggests that 85% of their guests prefer their airport-style kiosks to the traditional check-in experience.
Along with self-service innovations, something smaller and more powerful than a kiosk is helping drive changes to the front desk: the smartphone. More and more travelers rely on their mobile devices for customer service. Many favor this type of quick, faceless interaction for its convenience. Hoteliers, for their part, like the way that such technology simplifies their jobs and reduces costs.