- Businesses across the hospitality sector are investing in VR, AI, image recognition, IoT to deliver smooth and enjoyable customer experience across all touchpoints.
- HospoConnect is a game-changer app connecting suppliers with the chefs, bar staff to promote and sell produce quickly by catering to a larger customer base amid COVID-19 recovery period.
- The app offers a simple user experience that saves time, as well as money at both ends of the supply chain, while creating a boosted interconnected industry.
The world is continually changing, not just in terms of nature; as change can be witnessed even in human-created technologies, which aims to improve the lifestyle of people.
With each passing year, businesses across various sectors worldwide are stepping up to become 100% digital. Thanks to technology, capabilities of companies are enhanced to operate on a larger scale and cater to a diverse customer base.
A quick look at the components of hospitality sector
The hospitality industry has a broad horizon with the existence of a range of services. These services are grouped into divisions which are as follows:
- Stay-in services: hotels, motels, beach-side resorts;
- Entertainment: festival, tours, excursions;
- Nutrition-related: restaurants, lounges, cafes, food joints, and
- Transport: flights, train, taxi.
Since the early days of hospitality industry, customer service has been a key to manage successful businesses.
A warm welcome on arrival at restaurant, personal service by a friendly attendant, and a swift check-in from the reservation counter assists in making the experience of guests unique and satisfying.
With the arrival of technology, numerous activities, which were formerly performed by humans have been replaced by automated methods primarily to simplify functionality and improve services.
A look at what has changed over time with the advent of technology
Over the time, demands of consumers have witnessed a substantial change, leading to re-strategising of objectives and action plans of companies. This re-strategising focuses on addressing the ever-changing customer demands and offers best experience to customers.
It is essential for businesses to keep up with the latest technology trends as this industry is highly competitive. This means that businesses need to quickly adapt technologies to stay afloat and ahead of the game.
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Tech-based hospitality industry is geared up to create innovative experiences
Revamped Check-in experience: Traditionally, check-ins were done manually with a certain waiting period. However, with the usage of technology, guests can experience a reception-free check-in experience.
Are you wondering how this would be possible? Well! Guests would be able to check-in via online platforms and self-check-in kiosks.
Moreover, the rooms can be accessed by authentication through facial recognition and digital locks, and payments can further be authenticated by touch.
Introduction of semi or fully autonomous smart devices: It involves an extension of internet connectivity to everyday objects and devices. Businesses are looking at innovative ways to improve energy efficiency, save electricity, determination of the temperature and lighting preferences of the guest room that can be activated during pre-check-in.
This smart device concept is being replicated and used by internet-enabled thermostats. Interestingly, thermostats are used to automatically adjust room temperatures at the time of check-in and check-out, as well as temperature swings caused by the weather.
AI-enabled chatbots and robots: In the modernised world, customers expect interaction with the businesses across a diverse range of digital channels and receive prompt responses.
AI-enabled chatbots, understand simple questions and deliver swift responses to the customers, swaying burden away from customer service representatives and enhance customer experience.
Furthermore, robots are using speech recognition and AI to interpret customer queries and deliver smart, contextual answers instantly, while, intelligently learn from interactions.
Virtual Reality (VR): VR can be utilised everywhere in a customer’s journey from the stage of booking to their hotel stay duration.
In the modern times, several hotels, lounges, and restaurants are using 360 degrees imaging technology on their websites to enable users to experience rooms and a restaurant’s space before they go ahead with the booking. Furthermore, VR headsets can be used for entertainment purposes in hotels.
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COVID-19 is a black swan event which has impacted almost every industry in the world, with the travel & hospitality sector taking a massive hit.
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In light of pandemic, let us look at one of the divisions of hospitality sector, Nutrition-related service division.
Amid easing restrictions, eateries are commencing to reopen. However, they are struggling to procure supplies, taking orders and payments, and offering a contactless experience to customers, with physical distancing norms in place.
As the world is striving to sail through COVID-19 turbulent wave, many small changes may be unleashed with discoveries made by individuals, governments and businesses.
A new digital platform called HospoConnect is developed locally to help Kiwi restaurants, cafes and suppliers during the recovery phase of coronavirus pandemic.
You must be thinking what this new platform is all about? How will it help the suppliers and chefs in the recovery?
HospoConnect, an online application would bring chefs and wholesale suppliers under one roof and facilitate buying and selling of the produce on a digital platform.
The app will lessen the hassle and time-consuming paperwork and voicemails that the industry has conventionally been dependent upon.
A quick, interesting fact- As per various media sources, 330 restaurants and suppliers throughout the country had signed up to the app until mid-June.
The unveiling of HospoConnect was accompanied by two years of product testing, development and market validation with chefs, suppliers, and producers across the kiwi nation.
Quite often, it has been witnessed that domestic suppliers, growers and producers found it challenging to approach chefs directly, though they want to use their supplies. This app solves this challenge by enabling the introduction online and help the local suppliers to get their profile directly in front of chefs.
Moreover, suppliers can sell their produce quickly and cater to a wider market of buyers. You must be thinking, how these suppliers would get their products accessible directly to chefs and bar staff?
The local suppliers can upload their products, stories, and photos in front of chefs and bar staff right from their phone using the app.
Further, the interested chefs and bar staff can connect and place orders online with the wholesale suppliers to save time and reduce errors.
This app also assists suppliers to convey essential updates related to product availability and seasonal changes promptly through photos on HospoConnect News Feed.
It is believed that in a couple of months’ time, HospoConnect would add new functionality to the app, wherein invoicing and payment of transactions would be accomplished at the click of a button.