How Mobile POS Changes Everything

Advice From Operators Who Make it Work Well

By Teri Howe Principal Product Manager, Agilysys | June 18, 2017

An incredible meal will be forgotten if there are mistakes or delays during service. The most beautiful property will be forgotten if busy staff are ‘missing in action’ and inadvertently test guests’ patience too far.

One need not remind hotel executives of the criticality of continually evaluating our vision – and execution – of guest service. This is part in the DNA of industry leaders. A less common trait of this same group is an appetite for exploring technologies that might accelerate or enhance the ability to deliver a quality, personal, exceptional guest experience. Hospitality traditionally trails other industries in adoption of – and the creativity around – new technologies. A notable exception is mobile point-of-sale (POS).

The hospitality industry is second only to healthcare in its adoption of handheld device technology. And as technology begins to catch up with the demands of this market, growth continues to accelerate.

Upon first glance, this interest could be explained by reliable and sometimes outrageous revenue increases resulting from the adoption of untethered POS. Although significant revenue lifts of 60-80% have occurred at venues where the below steps were followed, we consistently hear properties reporting 15%, 20% and even as much as 40% growths during their busiest periods.

In addition to this revenue growth, properties boast about entirely new revenue streams. The opportunity to untether POS means that it’s possible to perform a guest service transaction in places that previously were inaccessible or too infrequent to justify a dedicated POS setup. Whether it’s accepting a credit card, engaging a room charge or redeeming loyalty rewards, hoteliers have more opportunities to provide just the right service to guests wherever they are, and whenever they desire.

This is the fundamental reason why more than 50% of food and beverage outlets list POS mobility as their top IT initiative in the next 3-5 years: it’s about serving more guests, more efficiently. The increased greenbacks help justify it, but it’s the following benefits that ensure it’s at the top of most IT department’s lists:

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.