Automation is here! And quietly it makes its way into the service sector of hospitality. But what does that mean for the employees, employers and customers? Is there going to be less work opportunities for professionals while the hotels are still delivering the same level of experience, if not higher guest satisfaction? Super hotel chains around the world like the Hilton are wholeheartedly embracing this innovative thinking. See for yourself in that video.
Well, you may be wondering what exactly falls under the “automation” category. Are the robots part of the automation process? That’s for sure. But there are also some other elements that you may not be aware of. Therefore, here we would like to clear off the topic and look at the different ways the robots and the integrated systems of the service sector will have an impact on the human lives.
The Elements of Automation in the Hospitality
When it comes to automation in the hospitality, not every duty can be replaced yet. Even so, we see the first steps being taken in terms of room booking management, price forcast and room automation. Guests are having much better experience than few years ago. It is a lot easier to communicate with the hotel staff and receive information. And when you are well informed your life becomes easy.
The Hotel Software
Since ages hotel buildings and establishments have operated with a customer management software. Many of those programs were local for each hotel and saved the data onto a server. Nowadays, some hotels still use local servers while others as part of the automation cycle rely on cloud-based storage of information.
The most obvious difference is that people across the building have access to all sorts of information related to the room bookings, customers arrival and restaurant orders. Clearly, the software of the establishment can make a large difference in communication. With more employees having access to essential information, they can quickly respond to what is needed to be done. Thus, provide an enhanced customer service.
Besides, real-time information about the room bookings, another great benefit of the hospitality cloud software is the sales channel distribution. In other words said, the software will monitor rooms availability and prices from different online platforms like Booking.com and Trivago. When customers book via the platform, the rooms will be directly assigned, and employees as well as potential customers will be able to see how many rooms are left available on the minute.
Tracking online prices of competitors is also part of the bundle. Now, hoteliers can adjust the room prices according the competition and the season with a single command on the screen.
Well, chatbots are somewhat changing the way a customer is communicating with a business. The difference is that there is not a real human assistant that answers your questions. Rather the bot is learning and providing an accurate answer or a link to the page with the needed information. Those are quite useful when you need quick facts on the go.
For instance, where the hotel is located and when the check-in/out is as well as if you need the contact details of the representative. Though, the chatbots cannot solve complex issues with bookings and ect. If customers are aware how to use them, it can definitely take some of the load of questions that customer service needs to answer. Chatbots are most often present on the accommodation’s official webpage in the form of a chat box on the side.
Those kiosk machines will be a massive life-saver for travelers that need to check-in late at night or check-out early in the morning. They will be a life-saver for receptionists that would not need to take on early morning or night shifts.
Besides the ability to check-in/out from your room, those kiosks at the entrance of the building can also print your door unlock ticket (you also get to unlock the door via a mobile device) and take payments for the bill including the restaurant orders recorded on the room bill.
In a similar fashion to home automation, hotels are taking on automating private rooms and apartments for customers. Meaning that you can control lightening, shades and heating from a mobile device. Even ordering food and get it delivered by the robot in the room as shown in the Hilton example. Or if you would like to set a wake-up call and get information about a flight delay that is also possible with the room automation. You can also get suggestions what to visit in the area and the weather forecast.
What Would Be the Impact?
Some experts in the industry and hotel managers consider that the automation will be of great benefit for their establishments. Even though, refurbishing an entire hotel can be a costly investment. As long as it comes to a human labor force many of them think that robots are still not well equipped to perform the duties of a housekeeper or a waiter. Nor customers are ready to face the changes. However, the good news is that robots will definitely take on the physical labor that may be exhausting for employees while they focus on solving problems.