Prior to the pandemic, the hospitality industry had been criticised for its slow uptake of technology compared to other industries. However, many hospitality venues relied on technology to implement effective track-and-trace systems and ensure the safety of both customers and staff by reducing the amount of social contact. Some restaurants even offered contact-free services for customers who opted for it leading to a resurgence of the QR code. The rise and rise of meal-kits and delivery platforms has further accelerated technology adoption providing key alternative revenue streams. However, as we look towards a return to some semblance of normality, we hope human interaction in hospitality will also return. Technology has its place, but it can never replace human interaction, nor should it.
Head of sales & marketing, Propeller
“Technology is taking on a new role, morphing from a tool designed to maximise efficiency into a means of fostering meaningful customer relationships. So what is needed from digital in hospitality to thrive in the new reality?
Customers are now more comfortable interacting with brands in digital environments and their expectations have evolved with their habits during the pandemic. The gap between hospitality ‘IRL’ and online is wider than in other industries, particularly eCommerce. Modern, hyperconnected consumers expectations won’t accept lacklustre digital interactions. Brands need to be using technology to enhance customer experiences in an authentic way that maintains consistency across all platforms, not replace human interaction.
We will continue to see eCommerce inform what hospitality is doing online, for example extending the on-site experience online and expanding the bookable proposition. People are taking ownership of their booking journeys because of distancing restrictions.
Click and collect, highly custom group / area bookings and video driven consultation are all growing. Technology was key to driving people back into venues safely and facilitating additional revenue streams in lockdown. Now it can be key to expanding their experiences and growing hospitality once again. Investment in digital infrastructure will guide those who invest in these channels to stronger customer relationships and enduring business success in the post pandemic environment as well.”
Click here to read the full CODE Hospitality’s Happiness in Hospitality 2020/21 Report – An industry survey in its most challenging year.