How Automation Is Helping Hospitality Connect With Customers

More and more, businesses are automating the processes that keep their company going. While automation is more often discussed in relation to segments like manufacturing, it has its place in almost every type of business.

Hospitality has found its groove with automation, producing a better customer experience and reducing operating costs. Even in an industry built around a personal, human touch, automation has a role to play.

Consumers enjoy being independent and self-sufficient. In a survey from SOTI, 66 percent of shoppers prefer self-service technology over interacting with the retail sales associate.[1] Thus, it makes sense to automate what is necessary.

In addition to the need for information is the desire for convenience. Customers hate lines, and most hospitality operations seek to reduce them as much as possible. However, they should be thinking about what can be automated in this interaction. Typically, a guest could go through the entire check-in process without the need to talk to an employee.

Here are some examples of the advantage of automation in hospitality.

Streamline Customer Communication

Automation can still keep a connection to customers intact. Enter the chatbot. Chatbots are an easy way to be responsive to customer questions. Plus, businesses can put them anywhere customers are, from a website to social media to a brick and mortar.

Guests can then bypass the front desk to ask questions or make a reservation. For a restaurant, a chatbot could book a table or recommend a wine pairing for a meal. All the little details that do not happen during human-to-human conversation are now easily answered by automation. Additionally, this is all great data for a business to understand what subjects drive the most queries.

Evolving the Customer Experience with a 360-Degree View

As just mentioned, businesses have data from every interaction with customers. This, combined with additional information they may have from loyalty cards, can provide a holistic view.

However, businesses need an automation engine to break down this data and provide it with trends and insights. These then transfer to recommendations for operations and marketing stakeholders.

For example, automation techniques could allow a theme park or entertainment venue to suggest activities, dining, and more. This could work in the form of an interactive digital screen where a customer could enter a membership number or as an app with push notifications—all supported in the background by automation.

Reducing Energy Usage

Automation can help hospitality save money by helping reduce energy usage. This could be as simple as automated lighting fixtures in hotel rooms, which turn off any time they are not needed, often monitored by sensors. The same idea could translate to thermostats. The more those are set to “off,” the more energy conserved.

Automation is part of technology’s disruption of industry, but this change is a good thing with benefits for both the industry and its guests.

[1] https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/01/11/1287378/0/en/The-Connected-Retailer-Survey-Finds-Consumers-Prefer-Self-Service-Technology-Over-Traditional-Interactions-with-Retail-Sales-Associates.html

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