WITH the hospitality sector facing challenges emanating from developing markets, fluctuating economies and evolving consumer preferences, it has become essential to adopt the Industrial Revolution 4.0 to accommodate the digital advances that will make sustainability a reality.
This is also premised on the fundamental reality that if hospitality businesses don’t grow apace, they’ll have obsolescence built into them leading to acute failure in the near future.
Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before, and this is changing both the expectations of patrons as well as the way in which the hospitality industry conducts its business. Some of the trends in industry are leading to great improvements and savings for hospitality industry companies; while some are changing how hotel developers plan their buildings, infrastructure, management structure and staffing requirements.
Technology doesn’t mean that customer experience can only happen online and through devices, check-ins and online comments. All of these experiences need to be part of an integrated, dynamic system so that the guests’ experiences are at the forefront of the marketing and operational team’s mind.
Marketing, management and hotel developers can no longer work in silos and these technology trends are giving them the opportunities, tools and solutions they need to create memorable experiences that can lead to positive change and growth in the industry.
On the cheaper end of this argument, many companies in the hospitality industry are already using social media to their advantage as guests check-in on location-based social media apps, tweet about their experience on Twitter and share their holiday photos with friends and followers on Instagram and Facebook.
This trend will continue and hotels can expect to see even more social media engagement from guests who use these platforms to give feedback about their experience, complain and give compliments about their stay.
From an online, reputation management perspective, this is a trend that marketers and hotel management need to manage proactively. Consumers don’t make decisions about where they’re going to travel to or book a stay in a vacuum – they turn to community-developed content and rating systems such as Trip Advisor and social media to make decisions about holiday destinations, hotels and leisure.
This shift has led to many hotel and leisure groups developing active social media monitoring and communication strategies in order to stay on top of what’s being said about them online and making sure that both marketing and operational staff address feedback that has been given online.
Lastly, converged local area networks (LANs) will also help hotels to create more intelligent buildings. A variety of computer-based building services can be automated in order to control lighting, refrigeration, air-conditioning and heating. Besides reducing energy consumption, converged LANs can also be set up to provide a smarter, more personal experience. If a guest is known to prefer his or her room temperature at 18°C with the lights dimmed to 65%, for example, this can be programmed before the guest checks in at the hotel.
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