The hospitality industry is being transformed by a number of outside influences which are shaping its future. The rise of mobile technology and the ubiquity of smartphones, in confluence with the emerging Millennial Generation travelers, are driving this transformation. One piece of this change is the adoption and implementation of customer self-service technology in hotels. Hoteliers have been generally slow to adopt self-service technology, but this is beginning to change.
Travelers have traditionally sought a high level of face-to-face customer service from the hotels in which they choose to stay. This is changing however, especially among younger travelers and business travelers. Hoteliers on the other hand have been largely eager to please their guests through delivering excellent customer service to the utmost of their abilities, usually meaning in-person and face-to-face interactions. Technology is creating new customer demands on hotels and the hospitality industry.
The air travel industry was an adopter and took the lead in regards to self check-in, using self-service kiosks. In addition to self check-in, air travelers have had the ability to also drop off luggage, and be early issued boarding passes as well. The adoption by air travel, and other industries including banking, has created an unprecedented level of expectation among travelers and the public in general. The airline self-service kiosk provides a model for how the hospitality industry can follow suit with similar technology.
Besides concerns for the lack of personal touch, hoteliers have been hesitant in implementing new self-serve technology because of fears that guests would not understand their use. This has proven incorrect wherever the technology has been put into practice as long as it is intuitively designed. Self-service technology does not replace hotel staff. It frees them from their desk to truly provide a much higher level of custom service to their guests. Besides convenience and service, the new technology can increase choice and personalization for each hotel guest. All of these factors have resulted in dramatically enhanced customer satisfaction among travelers.
The bottom line for hoteliers who are willing to adopt self-service technology is the resultant higher level of guest brand loyalty, leading to revenue increases stemming from its utilization in hotels.
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