It is a reality that, in a short period of time, mobile technology has changed the way in which the world moves. There is no doubt, the Smartphone is dictating how we live our lives.
Alfredo Lamadrid Alducin *
Only with mobile devices in our hands and connectivity, there are unlimited possibilities for access to information and services. This is an event that definitely changes the game for the hospitality industry. It opens a wide variety of very interesting options to offer services to the guests, efficient and easy to use. Not only is it now easier to travel around the world, it is also easier for hotels to operate and they can change how guests interact with a hotel.
Traveling is not something really simple. I have had the opportunity to do it in different latitudes and in my experience mobility technology has definitely made my life as a traveler much easier, but the benefits do not stop there.
Mobile technology is also having a positive effect on the hotel's operational layer, including the Sales, Marketing, Event Organizers and Banquet teams, to name a few. All of them are now able to carry and deliver information related to a special promotion or an event around the hotel through a Tablet, or even on your Smartphone. With certainty, this can include hundreds of event and banquet orders (BeOS) eliminating annoying and expensive printing by using software such as DropBox or a PDF reader. A mobile device easily replaces this process that takes time and money.
All of them can save valuable minutes when there is a crisis and be able to have all the information they need in the palm of their hands, no matter where they are on the property. This will result, without any discussion, better guest service and mitigate the BeOS update confusion.
Hotels, restaurants, convention and entertainment centers are also using mobile devices to gather information in real time from their guests and clients and to be able to make immediate changes. Using social networks and geolocation services, hotels can communicate with those who write details about their stay in the place, offering a simple "Thank you for staying with us", or act quickly and take decisions in solving the service problems before Check-out, with details that could be presented during the stay.
Another powerful tool for the sales and marketing team is the use of social networks and geolocation services on mobile devices to generate last minute offers at any of the hotel's consumption centers.
In short, as the previous example illustrates, mobile technology has the potential to do many things today and generate a radically different environment in the hotel.
1.- Money and electronic payments
Some banks and credit card companies already have services and mobile applications of an electronic wallet, which allows to pay for the room and, much better, gives the opportunity to choose which credit card you want to use, all from the Smartphone and apply a highly secure transaction for the customer and a very smart way to disperse travel budget to the family.
2. Electronic room keys
Currently there are technologies that allow guests to safely use their mobile device as a key to the room by sending an encrypted signal to the guest's Smartphone, unique to each user. This really is very useful for guests with much more application of use where they have to travel very long distances to return to the Front-Desk in case they have forgotten their key or for some very common reason stop working.
3. Telephone services inside the room
I do not remember when it was the last time I took the phone from the room to generate a call outside the hotel. Almost everything a hotel room phone can do can be done today on a mobile device. Once the hotels find and adopt technology so that guests can contact the reception in case of emergency (be it a text, messaging system or an E-Concierge), the telephone numbers of the rooms could be history.
With E-Concierge points (Virtual Concierges) available wherever you are on the property, there will be no need to go down to the front desk or call to have a Concierge available to generate dinner reservations or entertainment nights and any type of entertainment around .
5. Room Service
With the use of applications and services based on location, you should not be tied to the room in order to receive your order. With the use of the mobile device locator, Room Service is perfectly capable of delivering the order to any part of the property.
6. Front Desk
The Front Desk is already being revolutionized by mobility, the operation of the Hotel will change as the hotel adapts to the use of a mobile device, such as being able to deliver an electronic key to access the room. Today it is much more frequent to be able to receive the invoices of the consumptions of electronic way via an e-mail or to download it directly of a site of Internet.
7. Promotional forms of the hotel
The hotel sales and marketing team can stop worrying about the printed material that quickly becomes obsolete in each room. Guests can scan a QR code with their mobile device and learn about the latest events at the hotel and in the area. Hotels only have to update one thing when there is a change, the website.
8. Entertainment inside the room
This is already a real change, since Guests prefer to spend on a high-quality broadband Internet service and watch a movie from their Lap-top, Tablet or have access to a game on their mobile device, which does not It forces you to be anchored to the room and have to spend extra money on the entertainment of the hotel room. Then, the question is, is your Hotel prepared to handle and offer a high quality service in connectivity?
9. Automation and control of the room
The centralized automation of room services is now a reality, and may allow guests to have control of air conditioning, temperatures, lights, curtains, and entertainment services such as TV, music and more. I think it's a matter of time for hotels to continue making progress in adopting this technology.
10. Loading centers for mobile devices
I really believe that there is always a positive part and another not so much. Mobile devices are a great help, but having to charge so many batteries constantly and having to carry so many annoying cables inside the suitcase is really complicated. The next step for this is wireless power, it is definitely a trend that will move fast and the fully wireless charging centers will be much more accessible
11. Cashless & Bracelets
This is definitely a great experience for guests and customers throughout the hospitality industry, has many applications this technology and can turn a hotel into something really disruptive in the way of offering consumption options and handling payments within the hotel, resort, casino, events, cruises, convention center or entertainment, etc.
12. Kiosks & Self-Service
When we mention Kiosks it sounds like an old technology, and it may be true. The issue is that the application of this today to hospitality takes on a lot of force and relevance in the way of expressing and presenting service experience to clients. It seems to me that if you do not have a complete integration with your PMS, POS, ticketing, reservations, etc., and you can offer a true Self-Service, this technology will not fulfill its objective and will fall short in the hands of your client. My recommendation is to use this technology if and only if it can offer a real Self-Service experience.
13. Remote Check-in & Mobile Check-in
The advanced use of this technology is definitely something that will be a reality in a very short time. I do not predict that it will replace the Front-Desk in a range of the industry, but definitely in segments of Business, Budget, Self-Service, is and will be a required and indispensable technology to be able to deliver a desired experience for the Guests.
Of course, no one said that it would be easy for Hotels to adopt some of these technologies, it is certain that they can create opportunities and challenges for hotels. But it is very likely that the change may lead to new and creative ways to get to the bottom line of the hotel.
My vision is that guests will demand that the industry accelerate adoption of these technologies much more, as they do for their daily lives. And once immersed in them, the operation of the hotel will change irreversibly.
* Alfredo Lamadrid Alducin is Managing Director @ PDT Positive Disruptive Thinking Hospitality Guest; Managing Partner @ HOSTEC Mexico, expert consultant in hospitality technologies, Enterprise Social Technology, Social Media & Relevance. You can contact him through firstname.lastname@example.org