Best practice in a package

Jo Fuller, Percipient’s hospitality expert, takes a look at how smart technology is creating best practice within the hotel industry

Smart technology is everywhere – in our homes, at our workplace, where we shop – and the hotel industry is certainly no exception. Research shows that the ‘AI in hospitality’ market is set to grow with a compound annual growth rate value of approximately 10% from 2021 to 2026, suggesting that the appetite for smart technology adoption is definitely there within the industry. 

As the hotel sector continues to recognise the value that increased digitalisation can bring, expedited in part by the events of the last two years, smart technologies have a crucial role to play in delivering an excellent guest experience whilst achieving tangible efficiency and cost savings for the business, ultimately having a positive impact on the bottom line.

We’re rapidly seeing smart technologies becoming the foundation for best practice within the industry, across a whole host of business areas. So, where are smart technologies having the maximum impact and for those hotel leaders looking to invest in smart technologies, where should their sights be set?

A Sustainable Business

When it comes to sustainability, hotels are under increasing pressure to not only lessen their environmental impact, but to demonstrate their sustainability credentials to increasingly environmentally-conscious customers. Smart technology can help to achieve both of these things. 

Take energy management, for example, smart thermostats can help to set the most energy efficient yet guest-friendly temperatures, taking into account numerous factors, such as seasonality, weather forecasts and occupancy levels. 

Making the most of the data available is key, as demonstrated by Dakota Hotels. The business used sensors and meters to collect energy usage data from a range of areas across the organisation, using Sage Intacct to contextualise this data and deliver it as insight back to the business. The granularity of the information available enabled the business to compare trends in energy usage, reviewing electricity costs and consumption to inform the adjustments needed to benefit both the bottom line and to demonstrate sustainability credentials. 

Customer Experience Excellence

When it comes to the customer experience, smart technologies really do come into their own. We’re seeing AI-enabled chatbots used as customer service tools, helping at check-in or responding to common queries. Mobile check-in and check-out are becoming more commonplace, with many customers now expecting this as the standard, particularly when it comes to ensuring that crucial hassle-free check-out. 

A hands-free, contactless guest experience is rapidly becoming the norm and not just at the reception desk, but with mobile room keys and in-room voice control too. Room service can also make use of smart technology. Push notifications can be sent to guest mobiles when they’re in their rooms at times when they’ve ordered room service in the past, with recommendations for food orders based on customer preferences too. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality tools are becoming increasingly popular as well, able to deliver tours of premises from the comfort of potential customer’s home, or providing extra information when on site, such as menus, tourist recommendations and opening times.

As more customers are coming to expect a truly digital experience, the application of smart technologies is proving to be the key to making this as seamless as possible. At the same time, the right smart technologies allow hotel businesses to better manage and predict staffing needs, saving on labour costs and, crucially, freeing-up staff to focus on adding value elsewhere.

Improved Forecasting and Planning

At the heart of the most effective smart technologies is data. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to improving forecasting and planning. 

Optimising the data available can make all the difference. Taking into account patterns in customer behaviour, or customer preferences, in combination with recent and historic performance can help hotels to not only more accurately predict demand but optimise promotions and pricing strategies too. 

Take it one step further and you can bring in other factors such as competitor pricing or forthcoming events, with the smart technology available to automatically suggest pricing to optimise revenues in every possible situation.

Proactive Maintenance

Maintenance is another area where smart technologies are being put to good use across the sector. Using sensor data from a variety of sources, it’s possible to alert maintenance staff to impending failures or issues with equipment before they escalate into more costly, more inconvenient repairs or replacements. 

This helps to mitigate against problems that impact the guest, building the foundations of a predictive or even preventative maintenance schedule that’s both more efficient and more effective, as well as much less disruptive and unpredictable than the traditional reactive approach to hotel maintenance. 

As the hotel industry continues to bounce back from the global pandemic, the right smart technologies, applied in the right way, can hold the key to optimising operations right across the business. This paves the way for customer experience excellence in combination with maximum business efficiency and, ultimately, a more profitable business.

Accounting Software for Hotels

Percipient helps hospitality businesses to get the most out of their finance software. 

Whether you operate multi-property hotels, restaurant chains, entertainment venues, resorts, clubs or other business, Percipient’s Sage Intacct solutions provide a powerful chart of accounts, specially configured for your industry, using USALI.

If you’re looking to optimise operations across your business, contact the Percipient team on 01606 871332 or email info@percipient.co.uk for more information.

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