People everywhere use technology to complete their daily tasks, from banking, to shopping, hailing cabs, entertainment, booking accommodation, flights, paying bills, even controlling their home from a smartphone or wearable device – really, the list is endless. The ease and convenience offered by smartphone technology and all the apps available today means that consumers have now become conditioned to expect almost everything on their phones. Even interactions between businesses and customers have become so common via mobile that they’re expected at this point.
When it comes to our hotel stay surveys show that we expect no less than the same technologies that are readily available. Weak (or expensive) hotel Wi-Fi and other digital limitations or shortcomings can hurt hospitality brand perception. As a result guest-facing technologies are becoming more necessary to match rising guest expectations and competitive demands. And hoteliers have obliged. In a recent article featured on Hospitality Net, Prachi Chhabria said “In the last few years, there has been a steady uptick in integrating the use of technology within the hospitality industry” with many investing in various technologies from self check-in /out options, keyless entry systems, beacons, digital concierge services etc. and went onto describe this phenomenon as “definite progress for the hospitality industry and it is time to shift the focus on adapting mobile technologies for your employees too.” – We couldn’t agree more.
With extensive use of intuitive, responsive, flexible technologies in our personal, everyday lives, they are converging into our careers and are shaping our workplace technology expectations more than ever. Key stats from a report completed by Cisco (Connected Tech Report 2014) found that about 60% of respondents would choose a device other than a laptop for both work and personal use and 70% of HR professionals think Gen Y employees perform faster if they are allowed to use mobile devices instead of computers. The reasonable view is that businesses should be able to provide technologies that are at least as good as those consumers have access to.
Some employers are dubious and are reluctant to allow mobile devices believing employees might spend their time checking their Facebook status, Snapchatting and/or Candy Crushing their work day away! But the reality is that new innovate technology is one of the most underutilised and unrealized capabilities in the workplace – and the hotel industry is no exception. Employee-facing technology has the greatest potential to improve daily operations and the productivity of hotel employees while at the same time providing better guest service.
Using mobile, employees no longer need to sit in a “fixed” position, behind a desk or closed doors, instead mobility allows employees to move around and have real, personal interactions with customers, providing services anywhere the guests are, resulting in more satisfied customers. Staff can be reached anytime, anywhere; assign tasks, receive updates and status information in real-time, automate workflows, access critical business information etc. enhancing not just productivity within the hotel, but also the guest experience itself. That on-demand capability can immediately elevate a hotel’s efficiency and perceived service level.
Through technology, hotels can continually raise the level of service expectations and the importance of technology to hospitality will only increase in the future. The benefits of supporting mobile workspaces can be substantial; they enable people to work where and when they want and allow them to be more productive and efficient. “The industry has only touched the surface of how cutting-edge technology can be incorporated into hotel operations. The next year will be an opportunity for hoteliers to ramp up not only the surface of hospitality technology, those interfaces that directly touch guests, but also the underlying framework that drives staff and procedures as well” Intelity.