Role of technology in influencing the hospitality market

Role of technology in influencing the hospitality market

By Pranjal Prashar | 8 July, 2017
hospitality, technology, social media, IPSOS, Wi-Fi infrastructure, Apps, mobile
In today’s world where we all are under the scanner of ever evolving technology and ever rising social media influence, every single action draws a huge resultant in terms of reaction with a wide reach and influence. A lot depends on the rating provided by the end users and online reviews; hence it has become very important to manage reputation. Social media has created a wide array of business opportunities for the hotel industry. Over the years there has been a significant change in the functioning of the hospitality industry, it is now more driven to exceed guest expectations and thereby increasing the satisfaction level amongst the guests, this is also a way to get a competitive edge over the other players.

Over last few years internet speed in GPS enabled smartphone has increased. Applications like Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor are quick to use the technology to ask  for user reviews for any of the identified places. All new age applications are using geo fencing technology to identify where a user is spending time and asking their feedback on application. As a result volume of user generated reviews has increased by XXX% over last X years.

From hotel perspective it is clear that hoteliers can’t ignore reviews anymore. They need sophisticated tools to setup processes around reputation management.

Choosing the right tool which has right affiliation with these online review portals is critical, in some cases hotels have been penalised by review platforms because of violation of their review collection policies.

Technology plays a huge role when it comes to improving guest experiences and overall satisfaction.

The hotel industry massively uses the benefits of internet in order to boost sales and to garner better relationship with customers. Hotel reputation management which is the buzz word now, involves monitoring and influencing how a property is being thought about in the digital sphere. The inception of this has been through PR activities but slowly the execution was more based on the newly introduced concepts of

Review sites like the Trip Advisor

Social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are also playing a pivotal role in shaping the reputation of the hotels,

Through social media, hotels can also keep their rapport strong with their existing client base, which increases loyalty and a lot of brand re-call.

The word of mouth strategy works a lot

At times photographs and videos of hotels go viral too.

Bloggers too play an important role.

All this plays a vital role in enhancing the reputation of a hotel. As per the statistics provided by Trip Advisor, it is believed that 93% of the people consult the online reviews before going ahead with a hotel booking and a good 53% of the people do not book hotels which do not have an online review. Also, as per the reports from IPSOS, 68% people take decisions based on the reviews shared by their peers and 53 % of the people are influenced by the user generated content. These figures show how important it has become to have an online presence for the hotels. This also gives an interactive interface between the hotels and the guests and thus the hotel industry is now all geared up to leverage the social media benefits as much possible from the online reviews and reputation.

Coming to the another aspect of technology, apart from online presence a lot depends on what customers’ experience during the stay too, which is exactly what they integrate as their comment and review. The hotel should integrate online reputation management tools with operations to provide better services.

Technology innovations and upgrade has started impacting guest satisfaction in many ways.

Wi-Fi infrastructure overhauls—Gone are the days when hotels used to charge for Wifi. it is imperative to have seamless and fast connectivity and there should be no technical glitch as guests expect to get their devices connected with Wi-Fi the moment they step in , hassle free Wi-Fi connectivity can always be treated as a plus.

With the help of mobile communication and automation it is getting easy to have technology driven check-ins at hotels. Guests are now being able to do everything starting from their check-ins to ordering food or booking a spa from digital devices provided by hotels. This data is being fed into huge data management systems and services are being customized as per the specific requirements of every single customer individually.

Hotels are also investing in APPS that provide a very personalized range of services so that guests face no problems during their stay .The Apps also store relevant information about the guests like their food preferences or past purchases etc.

Hotels are also including Smart room keys, which include installing of smart room access systems that allow guests to unlock their doors by simply swiping their phones across a keyless pad on the door.

Remote control every functional aspect of the room through your mobile. This technology has been extended to every single feature of the room right from the lighting system to the TV. 

Few hotels are already offering more futuristic experiences where the room services are being carried out by robots.

The next innovation in hotel tech will be around cognitive and AI enabled assistant which can leverage all infrastructure to deliver personalised experience.

Needless to say it also aids in the revenue generation and cost optimisation for the hotels too.

The author is Founder & CEO, Repup

 

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