Technological advances are allowing hospitality businesses to have a more convenient, informed and valuable relationship with their customers.
The seven areas in which advances in technology are enabling a new, exciting level of customer service for the hospitality industry are :
- Online Booking Systems - While there will always be those people who would prefer to pick up the phone, the big advantage to online bookings is that customers are able to reserve a room or table outside the venue's regular business hours or simply at a time that is convenient for them.
- EPOS - Increased sophistication of EPOS systems enables hospitality businesses to perform functions such as processing orders, bookings and payments all from the convenience of a tablet. This affords the business greater flexibilty and mobility and adds yet another level of convenience for the customer.
- CRM - Customer Relationship Management software makes it easier for a business to build ongoing relationships with customers along with providing customer's details to staff literally at the touch of a button.
- Marketing Automation - This allows basic functions such as emailing customers and prospects and more advanced tasks such as sending emails to customers who have been clicking on or visiting certain areas of the website or social media pages.
- Social Media - A presence in social media is imperative. Facebook, for example, is a popular way for people to share photos and experiences. Venues such as restaurants and hotels should share interesting and beautiful photos of both their facilities and food. It is important for businesses to choose their social media platforms carefully based on who their target audience is, rather than simply joining all of them.
- Smartphones - The proliferation of smartphones allows hospitality businesses yet another opportunity to improve their level of customer service.
- Smart Appliances - Advances in smart appliances and home automation are starting to reach the hotel industry and will no doubt have a greater impact in the future. A single tablet device will be able to control things such as lighting, temperature, radio and room service or from a single app that a guest will be able to download and log into from their own device.
It is vital to remember though that these advances in technology are there to enhance, not replace, the core offerings of any hospitality business. Excellent customer service and top quality food are still the foundations of the hospitality industry and no advances in technology will make up for these if they are absent or lacking.