Hospitality, as broken down by Hospitality Net, is the multibillion-dollar industry whose four segments (food and beverage, travel and tourism, lodging, recreation) depend on leisure time, disposable income and customer satisfaction to generate profit. Due to the pandemic, leisure time is often spent at home, aggregate disposable income is less, and customer satisfaction is restricted by fewer channels available to reach consumers whose behaviors are ever-changing.
By now, it doesn’t take an Isaac Newton to recognize the gravity of the pandemic. But we’re not here to add more fuel to the discussion around an abysmal economy, death tolls, and misinformation for click bait. This could be the wholesome tech blog content you weren’t expecting and didn’t know you needed. Instead, I invite you to join me in finding a silver lining as we look at how players in this vulnerable industry are leveraging technology to weather the pandemic and hit the ground running in exciting new business territory.
Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are just a few examples of mobile technology storing payment information to be used for in-store and online purchases. For in-store, mobile wallets apply near-field communication (NFC), magnetic secure transmission (MST), and even sound waves to communicate with the point of sale without touching it. For online payments, intelligent digital wallets can autofill payment information while confirming the payer’s identity through biometrics or fingerprints for added security.
Applications, QR, mobile banking, and payment links are just a few additional functionalities companies can adopt to create a more powerful and convenient mobile payment process.
Implementing technology to accept mobile payments is relatively straightforward, and the benefits outweigh the effort and costs involved. Here are a few reasons why:
Restaurants are excellent data science candidates (especially chains and restaurant groups), as they generate tons of data both internally and externally (think social media, POS systems, email, inventory, phone calls, etc.). Due to social distancing and limited capacity operations, restaurants are investing in systems and training staff to make meaningful decisions based on data that would otherwise be impossible to process. Here are a few ways restaurants have used big data to gain efficiencies and increase sales:
It should be noted that data and information services can be leveraged across many industries. It should also be noted that data science insights can serve a dual purpose. For example, using data to optimize the menu may impact customer retention, and reversely, using data to improve customer retention may mean changes to the menu.
Customer-facing solutions are extremely important for weathering the pandemic, but we can’t forget about our employees. As Swedish businessman and author Jan Carlzon states in his book, “If you’re not serving the customer, your job is to be serving somebody who is.”
During the pandemic, organizations have had to keep the link strong between the enterprise and its employees as they balance the reimagined hybrid workplace. With a platform like Softtek’s RESILIENT, operations of any size can manage the safety of employees through digital passports, symptom monitoring, contact tracing, hybrid scheduling, and the ability to seamlessly integrate additional tools and platforms for increased control and visibility.
For hospitality, a hybrid workplace model represents huge steps toward the efficiency and safety necessary to continue operating in full capacity. Such platforms, paired with business communication platforms like Microsoft Teams, allow companies to create an employee-first culture grounded in providing tools and flexibility for a more productive workforce.
Countless players in hospitality have integrated chatbots into different touchpoints in apps, websites, social media accounts, and phone systems. Let’s get right into why:
I said it once, and I’ll say it again: Digital used to be like chalk. It made [rock] climbing easier, but you could still climb without it. Now, digital is the foothold keeping you from falling. Both customer-facing and back-office digital tools have been the lifeline for all industries, and hospitality will continue to adopt technology as a key to excelling in an agile corporation capable of meeting shifting demands.