À SAVOIR: The Automation Generation - Why today’s travelers place efficiency ahead of personal connection
The hospitality industry has always been a people-centric line of work. Face-to-face conversations with real humans have been the cornerstone of service industries since its inception. A smiling face behind the front desk of a hotel cannot be replaced.
Technology, on the other hand, has continually shifted the way guest service representatives interact with travelers and hotel guests. Each generation brings a new disruptive technology that shakes up the way the world does business. With each change, there is resistance, but progress always wins out.
In a recent story published for The Points Guy — That front desk agent may be virtual. And more helpful than a live one — Harriet Baskas, an award-winning journalist and writer says, “… in some hotels, guests will now be interacting with a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) voice bots trained to answer and handle calls.”
At the end of the day, a face-to-face connection is valued, but convenience is preferred. There is no getting around the necessity of customer service within the hospitality industry, but there are areas in the industry where efficiency should be placed ahead of the importance of personal interaction. In today’s modern, information age, check-in, bookings, restaurant reservations, and FAQs can all be made simpler with new technology.
TECHNOLOGY’S INFLUENCE ON THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
New technology is always resisted before it’s accepted. Before the Bell Telephone was widely accepted in business, it was rejected by those favoring more traditional methods of communication.
When email first came about at the dawn of the internet age, many believed it was just a passing fad that would be no more useful to businesses than a fax machine.
When online booking platforms emerged at the fringes of the hospitality industry, traditional travel agencies swore customers would prefer the personal touch of a travel agent over the ease of booking on the internet.
In each case, those who resisted the inevitable tide of new advancement were left behind when that very technology became a revolutionary wave of change in all industries.
A NEW AGE OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT
The last two years have introduced a new age of technological advancement and dependence that is here to stay. From Zoom conference calls and the ability to work from the couch, the beach, or anywhere else on the planet to instant food delivery, streaming brand new movies, and taking virtual classes, technology now occupies a new place in society. Consumers are now accustomed to the ease of service on-demand on their terms, and the hospitality industry must adapt accordingly.
While personal guest service is always appreciated, today’s modern traveler wants a contact-free delivery experience at the tap of a screen. The hospitality industry must strive to capture the efficiency of modern technology that today’s travelers have grown to expect.
WHAT THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY HOLDS
The way we communicate has changed, in no small part thanks to new technology. Communication has become streamlined. And, sadly, formalities are no longer necessary.
When a customer calls the reservation department of your hotel, they want their questions answered and their reservations booked immediately. If today’s traveler is picking up the phone to use the voice channel, chances are they’ve exhausted all other options. They have looked extensively online and were unable to find the answer to their question. They don’t want to wait on hold or chat with an archaic voice bot that redirects them incorrectly and has a limited menu.
Source: Hospitality Net