Minimizing physical contact has become one of the top priorities in travelers’ trips since the global health crisis; contactless technologies, thus, are more likely to be focused on in the upcoming periods. To hoteliers, updating the crucial technologies will create leverage that help hotels enhance their competitive edge in the future.
We all know that travel in 2021 and for so after is going to be a lot different from what we are accustomed to before. Various researches have been conducted and one of the key findings concentrates on the importance of “contactlessness” in travelers’ experiences. Skift has also collaborated with Oracle Hospitality and Medallia Zingle to execute some surveys to paint the current market landscape and map out some of the possible trends in the application of contactless technology in hospitality.
Up to 77 percent of the travelers show concern about physical interaction at the hotel.
According to the “COVID-19 and the Future of Commerce” report by Medallia Zingle, only 23 percent of the surveyed stated that the amount of in-person interaction required at a business will not influence their decision to visit it at all, which means only one out of five people does not mind interacting physically with other people at a hotel property while the other four are somewhat or greatly concerned if there are no measures to minimize contact at the hotel.
Another research named “A Data-Driven Look at Hospitality’s Recovery” by Skift and Oracle Hospitality also shows that 71 percent of travelers are more likely to stay at a hotel offering self-service technology that minimizes physical contact with the staff. The key findings bring out that besides hotel loyalty programs, the hotels can invest in building touchless experiences to improve the tendency of a returning guest, especially in the period when health and safety are considered the top priorities.
What contactless technologies should hotels focus on?
- Contactless technologies which provide real-time customer insights
According to the previous report from Medallia Zingle about guest services, only 25 percent of guests would report the problem they encounter during their stay. This can be explained as the complaints usually require face-to-face communication in order to be solved while most of the guests want to avoid confrontation.
Moreover, up to 42 percent of the guests claim that they would be willing to return to the hotel if the poor experiences which they found unsatisfied with before have been addressed and transformed into positive ones. So, in the new era of travel, minimizing contact between guests and hotel staff requires hotels to come up with a new solution which captures the gist of customers’ sentiment and prompts guests for feedbacks early in the customer stay. The result inevitably is the emergence of contactless technologies that offer real-time two-way communication.
On the one hand, these technologies make it more convenient for guests to notify the hotel when facing an unpreferable issue; on the other hand, they also support the hotel in understanding its customers to maintain their satisfaction level through the stay without any further due in solving the problem. These technologies and platforms will considerably assist the hotel to balance between implementing social distancing and safety measures with preserving guests’ expectations to the fullest.
Finally, as contactless technologies in real-time communicating are being developed, hotels can easily automate the repetitive messages and pre-design a solution package for certain problems for more efficient operation.
- AI technologies to upgrade guests’ experiences
While the omnichannel and platforms for two-way messaging add to the hotel’s knowledge and data about guest sentiments during the experience for forming strategies to promptly address and adjust the rising issues, AI technologies will highlight the preferences of frequent guests that are usually ignored.
If guests’ experiences are personalized, they are more likely to feel special and appreciated by the thoughtfulness and the authenticity of the experiences, and thereby maintain the same anticipation and satisfaction during their stay. In the context of contactless technologies are becoming necessary and omnipresent, guests may think that the hotel is not as caring as it was before regarding special offerings. Hotels which are applying AI technologies can systemize the customers’ preferences and habits so that they can proactively provide the services to the wish of the right guests.
According to the Oracle Hospitality report, 70 percent of guest requests are handled automatically when hotels implement AI-enabled technology. Also, 86 percent of hoteliers agree that AI improves both employee and guest satisfaction.
Besides the popular touchless technologies such as self-check-in, locks activated by smartphones and online payments, investment in contactless technologies that enhance communicating with guests and updating their insights will help the hotel to be proactive in fulfill the guests’ expectations with personalization and to promptly make amendments to their requirement if necessary during their stay. Applying contactless technologies from the operation is possibly the master key to open the new door, stepping to the threshold of recovery and re-development in the future.