self-service

Self-service and mobile innovation is the future of hospitality

The desire for efficiency, self-service, and convenience is what drives most technological revolution. A perfect example of how technological advances are changing daily life is the grocery store Amazon Go opened in Seattle. Shoppers walk in, grab what they want, and walk out. There are no shopping carts, no checkout lines, and no waiting to pay. In fact, you don’t check out at all. The store keeps track of what you take from the shelves and then charges your Amazon account. It is truly the next level of convenience.

Self-service technology could become the new normal.

Automation and mobile optimization are not new concepts. Self-service checkouts appeared long ago and are now the new normal. You can place mobile orders at places like Starbucks. Restaurants are phasing out servers. There are multiple ways to pay with a mobile device, and if you forget how your voice-powered personal assistant can always help you out.

The question is:

how will these revolutionary advancements influence other industries? Will they affect the hospitality and travel industries?

One example of how they already have is mobile hotel keys. Most hotels already offer many mobile services like mobile booking, check-in, notification, payments, concierge, and more. This allows guests to do it all right from their phone.

One important aspect to consider with new tech solutions is whether or not it is actually convenient. Occasionally, new technology is rejected by consumers. This happens when the technology is inconvenient and places cognitive stress on the consumer. Why would a consumer bother with something that makes life more difficult? For example, if mobile payment is harder, they will just opt to use cash or a card. If there are easier options, they will always be used first.

The Amazon Go grocery store has mastered this simplicity concept. Consumers just walk in, grab, and go. It’s easy and it saves time. When applied to hotels, guests will expect this same simplicity at every point of their stay. If everything is mobile, they won’t want lines at the front desk. Their mobile keys should work right away. Special requests made online should be honored. The whole point is not having to contact the front desk for something you’ve already communicated via mobile. The future of hospitality will rely on these interactions being seamless.

This uninterrupted self-service can also lead to guests spending more. When consumers don’t have to dig in their wallets for cash or cards, they forget what they’re spending. If they don’t wait in line, they don’t have time to change their minds over those impulse purchases. This consumer psychology can lead to guests spending more on property. Also, and more importantly, they can continue re-booking very easily.

While there are many benefits to technological advancements, there is something to be said for personal interaction, especially in hospitality. Guests still look for a personalized approach during their stay. An increase in automation may lead to a shift in staff roles. This should allow staff to focus on guest engagement rather than transactions. This extra face-to-face time with guests can become a competitive advantage and should not be overlooked.

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