Automation, artificial intelligence and robotics have all significantly impacted and transformed many industries, including hospitality where it has been adopted for processes to augment human interaction. Although, in many instances the check-in and check-out processes may now be performed by automated machines, or kiosks; changing the guest experience as we know it.
Millions of jobs and tasks typically undertaken by humans have been overtaken by automation. In fact, studies predict the loss of nearly 5 million jobs to automation and robots by the year 2020. Therefore, it’s necessary to examine how this seemingly inevitable evolution will disrupt the hospitality industry and in turn, the guest journey.
A clear example of this are OTAs, which have replaced countless travel and booking agent jobs. However, to survive in this new age environment, some travel agencies have adapted by switching their business models and becoming more exclusive, offering a la carte experiences that appeal to those seeking more luxurious getaways.
With travel agencies, for instance, personalization is their core value proposition. The same tendencies will be observed with hospitality, where personalizing the guest experience is becoming a key differentiator for many hotels. As automation and technology take over many hospitality workflows, daily tasks and operational processes, more importance will be placed on enhancing customer service skills across all hotel job roles. Staff can also dedicate more of their valuable time toward meaningful interactions and personally tackling the more complex issues for guests. Doing so will lead to a value-oriented interaction with guests, delivering an exceptional experience whether they are ordering room service, requesting housekeeping or checking out at the front desk.
The unique nature of the hospitality industry is that the guest experience is the product. And, while technology can’t substitute the warmth and friendliness of a welcoming concierge, it can significantly serve the needs of both guests and operators by facilitating positive human interactions. For example, by anticipating guests’ needs through data analytics derived from the PMS system, hotel operators can understand guest expectations, optimize inventory and staff resources, and plan an exceptional experience for every guest.
Property management solutions that can integrate with different technologies and deliver valuable insights will be key in providing the competitive advantage that is a personalized guest experience. Providing a memorable guest service is incumbent upon positive human interaction, and in today’s world, automation and efficient technologies hold the key to transforming every experience and enabling hotel staff to take the guest journey to a whole new level.