September 16, 2021 | Pak Lui

How technology is preparing for the new world of hospitality

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Pak Lui

Pak Lui has more than 25 years of Information Technology experience and has spent the past decade specializing in the hospitality industry. Prior to being an Industry Analyst at Windstream, Pak lead the infrastructure team at Potbelly Sandwich Works. Most recently, he spent three years at the nation’s largest food service company, Levy, overseeing the Information Technology deployed at sport and entertainment venues, convention centers and culture attractions.
Summary: Technology has been instrumental in transforming the way businesses operate. Hospitality is one such industry that’s witnessing this transformation. See how technology is filling voids at a crucial time for the industry.

Of all the industries to be hit hard by the pandemic, hospitality certainly makes its way to the top of that list. According to the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), the hotel industry is still in dire straits and that it would be one of the last to recover—in fact, travel is not expected to return to 2019 levels until 2024.1

smiling hospitality worker holding a digital tablet

Given the state of hospitality, employees have experienced massive lay-offs, causing many to consider leaving the industry altogether. Some employees were forced out of their roles because their employers downsized or shut down, while remote working and other responsibilities have forced thousands of Americans to consider switching their careers to pursue other paths. Widespread “rage quitting” has been reported by fed-up employees seeking better pay and conditions. Another study showed that half of former hospitality workers wouldn’t return to their previous jobs in the hospitality industry, and a third of those former hospitality workers wouldn’t return to the industry at all.2

Restoring hospitality

For the industry to thrive in this new world, it’s time to do things much differently. While guests and clientele expect stricter sanitation policies and changes to housekeeping procedures, a key to the revival of the hospitality sector lies in the hands of leading-edge technologies that promise solutions to modern-day challenges and that work to better safeguard both guests and employees. A handful of these solutions look like:

  • Touch-free and contactless solutions: Almost every aspect of the hospitality experience can now be accessed through guests’ personal mobile devices or self-service kiosks, provided that hotels have adopted the right software, such as scannable QR codes, contactless hotel check-in and check-out, digital room keys, contactless payments, in-app ordering and online appointment booking.
  • 24/7 call center: Instant access to guest services support the shortage of employees, while providing a more personalized service, increased guest engagement, boosted customer service and detailed insights to guests’ needs. These centers support both live-agent and AI-powered channels.
  • Cloud-based IoT: An essential piece to running back-of-house functions and streamlining operational complexities come from these technologies, like being able to coordinate housekeeping, assigning staff duties and confirming compliance with new cleanliness standards.
  • Remote work capabilities: One way hotels have stayed in business is by turning rooms into private offices complete with faster WiFi, ample desk space, more power sources and the ability to extend laptops screens to display on TVs.
  • Endless streaming: Support services such as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and HBO max by enabling built-in applications within hotel room TVs or with BYOD streaming devices.
  • Gaming: Another way for hotels to win over guests is by providing away-from-home gaming and tech experiences by offering the same level of online and digital facilities that would be expected at home.
  • Fitness equipment: Hotels are tapping into the latest fitness fads by equipping fitness rooms and hotel rooms with digital, community-driven equipment like Peloton, Mirror and Hydrow. This fits into the routines of many guests who ditched their gym over the pandemic and got comfy with at-home workouts.

To tap into these cutting-edge solutions, the hotel industry needs a starting point. Typically, this all starts with a strong network foundation designed for hospitality IT in order to deliver a superior guest experience. Specifically, organizations should look to adopt:

  • Reliable, secure cloud-optimized connectivity with built-in agility to adapt to rapidly changing IT environments.
  • Consistent, high-quality Internet access plus wireless coverage in sleeping rooms, public spaces and conference and meeting areas.
  • Centralized and simplified communications management across all hotel locations.

Windstream Enterprise is dedicated to helping hospitality organizations seamlessly connect their locations, applications, staff and guests. Learn more about how to achieve a unified guest experience with Windstream Enterprise solutions tailored for hospitality.

References

  1. “State of the Hotel Industry 2021.” AHLA. January 21, 2021.
  2. Dean, Grace, “A third of former hospitality workers won’t return to the industry during the labor shortage because they want higher pay, better benefits, and a new work environment.” Business Insider. July 8, 2021.

Key takeaway: Technology in hospitality has increased the abilities of hoteliers to adapt to the rapidly changing environment during the pandemic. A stable network and unified communications are essential pieces of the puzzle.

Pak Lui

Pak Lui has more than 25 years of Information Technology experience and has spent the past decade specializing in the hospitality industry. Prior to being an Industry Analyst at Windstream, Pak lead the infrastructure team at Potbelly Sandwich Works. Most recently, he spent three years at the nation’s largest food service company, Levy, overseeing the Information Technology deployed at sport and entertainment venues, convention centers and culture attractions.