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Chandrabir Singh: Interactive technology will be the key in dealing with pandemic issues in hospitality

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Chandrabir Singh, GM, The Zinc, Whitefield-Bengaluru writes how technology will be the front runner in the changes that the hospitality industry will go through over the next coming few years

Hospitality industry has been going through constant interruptions in the recent past, from economic slowdowns to COVID-19- which has brought world down to a standstill. As the world tries to figure out the ways in which it can deal with the pandemic and open up for business, the needs and wants of a traveller will evolve and change.

Once this COVID crisis is over, as expected the growth will be slow for the initial few months. Travellers will be worried about their health and safety issues. There will be a requirement for hygiene SOP upgradation, technology adaptation and training for the staff and in some instances for guests too. We all are in the process of creating clear SOPs for various areas, keeping manual and automized sanitation in mind.

Various measures of crowd control at lobby and during check-ins on cloud-based Property Management System will be order of the day. The industry needs to develop intelligent smart technology-based solutions to win guest confidence by creating a room management/ allocation application- a solution that allows the guest to choose sanitised and safe guest rooms.

Usage of skin-temperature screening cameras, geospatial sensing tech (smart floors) chemical and UV light cleaning systems and graphenstone ecological paints and coatings, contact tracking apps will enable consumer confidence.

Automatic and constant cleaning of guest rooms and public areas by robots will help winning the confidence of the guests. Lift handrails should be sanitized regularly with the help of technology. Technology should also help manage the flow of people and support social distancing.

Various emerging technologies can be utilized in the F&B segment. A digital tablet menu, a QR-code supported ordering solution that restaurants worldwide are experimenting with. The guest will be able to scan a QR code on his/her mobile, check the menu and place the order via the mobile without downloading any app. The world of technology is ever-evolving in the hospitality industry.

Virtual Reality – Many hotels are adopting VR for various reasons. For instance, 8K VR services enable guests to experience a 360-tour of hotel spaces from one point within the lobby. Showcasing banqueting spaces etc. VR also offers guided solutions that help guests review the services at a property.

The VR technology has also helped the hotel to tap new client base, potential guests who can experience the hotel from their homes and offices. Clearly, VR technology is a key tool for hotels to gain new business. VR technology has empowered the team to showcase the entire property in an interactive format to clients.

In the post-Covid world, VR technology and other new-age technology are increasingly in demand as business continuity takes priority. Companies are speeding up rollouts, and expanding their product lines.

Smartphone app-based technology – Smartphone app-based technology is helping hotels to automate and optimise experience.

In fact, PMS can be used with mobile concierge apps to help engage with guests without personal contact, across most operations — from check-in to in-room dining. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence are predicted to boom in the hospitality industry, with growth rates of nearly 12% a year. Hotels that leverage these technologies will benefit. The new technological upgradation will make the operations smoother, personalized and hustle-free.

The app-based technology will improve our guest’s loyalty and also uplift the 10-12% of our repeat guest ratio. The app can help the hotel track a guest’s stay history and offers an insight into their likes/dislikes and preferences etc.

In order to reduce the vulnerability quotient, the privacy protocols need to be followed. The data to be kept safe and associates will be able to access the information only when the unique identification code is revealed. The service-based app can contribute to about 4-6 % of the revenue.

Clearly, technology will be the front runner in the changes that the hospitality industry will go through over the next coming few years in a world that has drastically been transformed by the coronavirus epidemic.

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