Technology is one of the main elements of daily life – this is assuming that it’s not the biggest part of your life to begin with.
Looking at this objectively, it’s hard to deny that we are becoming more and more reliant on technology to be able to perform even the most basic of tasks. Not that this is a negative thing, as it paints a picture of a world that’s becoming highly advanced, in ways that Marty McFly couldn’t even relate to.
One area where technology is having a massive impact is in the hospitality industry, which includes bars, restaurants and of course, hotels.
The leisure industry is becoming reformed in a multitude of different ways, not least in the ways that hotels are being owned and operated on a day-to-day basis.
We’ve outlined just three of the biggest ways that technology is impacting on the hospitality industry and shaping the way it will be in the future.
Although they’re largely referred to as phones, the reality is that smartphones are really small computers that can fit right in the palm of your hand.
In terms of the hospitality industry, these can be the things that make or break a hotel’s reputation all within seconds. Why is this? Because you can essentially reach the world and hold it between your fingers, spreading your opinions and thoughts about things to (potentially) millions of people.
With smartphones we can download just about anything we want, buying food and clothes, booking holidays and reservations anywhere in the world.
If you’re someone looking to stay in a hotel in a certain area, you can look online and find reviews and information about that place very easily. Thanks to things like TripAdvisor, you can read comments and perspectives about places that you might want to stay in from people who are essentially your peers.
The truth of this is that people are more likely to trust these reviews, rather than professional reviews in travel sections.
Somewhat related to the idea of TripAdvisor, Twitter and Facebook give people a voice to say anything that they want to #NoFilter.
As a result, people are likely to look at your company’s social media profiles to read more about it, keep updated and write miniature reviews because everyone has the ability to be a critic.
Social media can be a really helpful tool for hotels though, as Inc. says before the invention of these platforms, restaurants and hotels had to find other ways of putting their name on the map.
By being able to check-in on Facebook to say that you’ve arrived somewhere helps spread the name of the hotel quickly and it’s usually free too – unless you’re using boosted posts on social media.
It’s easier to make a name for yourself if you have an excellent social media presence and make the effort to reward your Facebook and Twitter followers for their loyalty. Running competitions for a free night’s stay in your hotel is a quick way for you to gain new followers and retain interest about the packages and deals that are available for your target market.
Instagram is another one that can be shockingly important because consumers, and particularly those who make up the millennial market, love to update their friends with what they’re doing.
This photography-based social network allows them to snap a photo and share it among their friends. By doing this and tagging your hotel into the picture, they are unwittingly performing an excellent word-of-mouth service that you can’t buy anywhere else.
The now generation
By the now generation, we’re mostly talking about millennials and their culture of wanting everything at their fingertips constantly.
These are people who look for things on demand and they are largely able to have this need satisfied. Think for example of on-demand TV like Netflix and Now TV, this allows the market to watch whatever they want whenever they want – no questions asked.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Television Festival in 2013, Kevin Spacey addressed the crowd in attendance saying that the industry should give audiences what they want and “if they want to binge, we should let them binge”.
This is what is beginning to happen to a lesser extent with the hospitality industry, as guests can now check-in to their hotel rooms through apps and Wi-Fi that is nearly always free, so that visitors won’t have to spend a minute feeling like they aren’t connected to the world.
Another example of this is the concierge in a pocket idea, which is becoming increasingly popular. It sees people staying in the hotel able to chat with the concierge about things that they need – similar to the likes of Whatsapp – so they don’t have to go in search of someone, or worry about the staff being away from the reception desk.