Which technologies and applications will have the biggest impact in 2022?

What are the REALISTIC technological solutions having the greatest impact in 2022? STR has just released some disturbing data, clearly showing that IT spending in the US hospitality industry during the pandemic has fallen significantly from 2019, falling to 50% in 2020 and rebounding slightly to 70% in 2021 of the pre-pandemic level. Worse still, the decline in the payroll (salaries and benefits) of hotel IT staff throughout the pandemic, ending the year at 46% of the 2019 level. Technology spending in Europe and Asia-Pacific follows a similar trend.

Due to all the ongoing uncertainties related to the pandemic, I don’t expect hoteliers to double or triple their technology investments in 2022. I think these are the best, most realistic technology applications and solutions that can have the biggest impact on hospitality this year:

Contactless customer experience

Implementing contactless customer experience is one of the few realistic ways this year to mitigate the negative impact of current labor shortages and unsustainable labor costs.

Great hospitality does not necessarily mean services provided by people. Let’s stop crying over the loss of the human touch, the human component of customer service. Today, a third of total accommodation stays are in short-term rentals where services are provided in a completely human-free and contactless manner.

Investments in contactless technology are also necessitated by extremely tech-savvy customers and their extremely high technology expectations of self-service, so let’s give DIY-obsessed consumers what they want!

Contrary to what some in the industry believe, contactless guest experience does NOT just mean contactless check-in, but the complete guest experience before, during and after the stay: from mobile check-in to mobile keys or at self-check-in kiosks. , problem resolution and guest communications via messaging, on-demand housekeeping program, self-selection of room from digital floor plans similar to how you choose your airplane seat, assistants in-room voice, virtual concierge, IoT-controlled utilities, self-ordering kiosks in F&B, self-service vending machines, chatbots on property website, CRM technology to engage guests and maintain customer conversation.

Example: You can reduce your reception staff by 50% or more by introducing mobile check-in and mobile keys, self-check-in kiosks, website chatbot to manage service and information requests, the email reservation assistant application to manage reservation requests via email, problem-solving technology applications and in-room voice assistants to manage customer service requests from staying guests. All this at a fraction of payroll costs.

Today’s cloud PMS Opera Cloud, StayNTouch, Protel, CloudBeds, Mews, etc. all offer various mobile controls and all aspects of the touchless customer experience through native or third-party apps.

Guest messaging and troubleshooting

The problem with calls is that when guests call the front desk, someone there – an understaffed, overworked, underpaid front desk clerk has to pick up the phone and waste valuable bandwidth processing quite often trivial requests or problems. There are over 4 billion messaging service users worldwide, so it’s no wonder that 64% of guests want to communicate with hotel staff via their own smartphone. The adoption of customer messaging and troubleshooting applications such as Knowcross, Runtriz, Zingle, Guestware, Beekeeper, etc. via smartphones or in-room guest voice assistants such as Volara and Intelity not only improves guest satisfaction and staff efficiency, but also reduces the need for guest service staff.

CRM technology

In the post-pandemic era, succeeding in retaining customers will make or break ownership. You can’t have meaningful business activity (15-20 times cheaper than acquiring new customers) without CRM technology and program in place. Only a meaningful CRM technology application – as part of your hotel’s technology stack – can ensure deep engagement with your past and future guests.

CRM technology not only provides automated pre-, during-, and post-stay communications, guest satisfaction surveys, guest retention marketing automation, and drip marketing campaigns, but goes even further through customer recognition program management and loyalty marketing. All of these fully automated CRM initiatives keep “the conversation going” with your future and past customers, keeping them engaged and pointing them in the right direction: to book your hotel when it’s time for them to visit your destination again. Plus, you can use your first-party CRM data on your top guests to run lookalike audience marketing on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more. to target potential customers with similar characteristics to your best guests.

CRM technology has become widely available and reasonably priced through specialist hospitality vendors such as Cendyn CRM, Revinate CRM, TravelCLICK GMS, etc., but less than 10% of independent hotels have CRM programs in place.

CRM initiatives combined with ORM (Online Reputation Management) technology can turn your satisfied customers into brand ambassadors and passionate social media influencers.

On-site chatbots

A chatbot on the hotel website like Asksuite allows the hotel to engage users, answer their questions, and direct them to a reservation 24/7. More than 60% of interactions with the chatbot occur after hours and on weekends, when the hotel is severely understaffed. Chatbots provide users with information in the form of text, images, video, audio, etc. and serve as a 24/7 virtual client for your establishment. service department. Ex. Edward, London’s Edwardian Hotels chatbot responds in real-time and around the clock to inform about hotel services and amenities, make recommendations, handle guest complaints, and more, alleviating the workload of reception.

The list is lengthened increasingly. The technologies that exist today can significantly reduce staffing requirements and labor costs at all stages of service delivery, from pre-arrival client engagements to on-site client services and customer loyalty after the stay.

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