Trends in Hospitality 2013

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Wednesday 9th January 2013

Trends in Hospitality 2013

Mukund Mohan, Vice President of Product Strategy at Infor gives his run down of the key trends in hospitality for 2013. 

To enhance guest satisfaction many of the top hotel chains are moving away from traditional front desks and making their internal applications available on mobile devices. With self-service options ranging from virtual check-ins through kiosks, cell phones or tablets to mobile applications that allow employees to check guests in from anywhere in the hotel, the front desk may soon vanish from hotel lobbies completely. We asked Mukund Mohand firstly how check-in procedures are changing over time... 

Travelers are looking for quick and easy check in procedures. If we look at the airline industry, 10 years back, the concept of a Kiosk check in did not exist. Today, almost every airline offers a kiosk check-in. In addition, most airlines have an option for online check-in via a mobile device. In essence, the traveler is being provided the necessary tools to handle the check-in process on their own. The hotel check-in process has followed very similar trends. Hotels realized that speed and efficiency counts, and have adopted self-service kiosk check-in and online mobile check-in procedures in the last five to seven years.

What kinds of self service options are becoming the most popular, and how will this evolve? 

Online mobile check-in, online mobile/web search and book reservations and online mobile check-out are very popular self-service options for Hotels. In addition, online food and beverage orders for room service are trending on the positive. Travelers are simply looking for ways to interact online in real time with the hotels and the same vein hoteliers are looking for ways to enable these services online. While the Kiosk has a place in large volume hotels, Mobility is a preferred methodology for travelers/consumers to interact with the hotel for a wide array of services.

What are the advantages for the guest and for the hotelier? 

Assuming hotels have provided travelers with necessary technology tools for both online check in and room key card kiosk dispensers, which are technologies where a guest can open their hotel rooms using a secure ring tone on the cell phone, a significant advantage for the guest is speed and efficiency.  An advantage for the hotel is reduced labor costs as automation via online and kiosk take the place of traditional human resources.

How far will this go? 

Hoteliers have already adopted technology/tools to enable online/automation.

-        Online Reservation via Web booking engine and mobile device (guest self service)

-        Check in via mobile device and/or Kiosk. Key card less check in via cell phone is being used in several hotels.

-        Check out via mobile device and/or Kiosk or Guest TV

-        Online Concierge tools (maps, reviews/recommendations on social network channels) have replaced the traditional Concierge

-        Online Room Service F&B orders have replaced the traditional ordering process via guest room telephones.

-        Surveys are being replaced by Social networking web site rankings (Trip advisor, Yelp recommendations etc)

Hoteliers are enabling access by integrating Social networking web access via online self-service tools for online communities including hotel employees to connect, collaborate and action on information. While the human element cannot be completely removed at the hotel for basic operations such management, security  and  housekeeping, all or most of the front desk operations will be automated for guest self service.

How is Infor leveraging this? 

To deliver speedy service, hoteliers have Infor’s hotel management solution (HMS) that provides real-time information. Infor’s HMS has made significant strides in innovation with cloud, mobility and social network integration solutions. With Infor HMS Mobility, hotel users and guests can access information directly from the enterprise application in real time via mobile devices.

What will check-in look like in five years from now? 

The traditional front desk might be more of a management hub for customer interaction.  And the mundane operative tasks such as ‘Computer based check in’ might be handled through Online tools such as Mobility and Kiosks.
Anything else?

As Hoteliers wish to stay ahead of the curve against their competition, servicing their customers is paradigm with the best tools and amenities. This in turn will drive guest loyalty and ultimately more revenue for the hotels ensuring profitability. Hoteliers will adopt Technology and tools to ensure better consumer (traveler) satisfaction. Infor as a partner brings these tools to the hoteliers.