Hoteliers playing ‘catch up’ with tech, Zonal report finds

Hoteliers are playing “catch up” with restaurants, pubs and bars when it comes to adopting technology to drive sales and build loyalty, a report has found.

According to the latest ‘GO Technology report’ from hospitality management solution provider Zonal and CGA, order and pay apps are a huge untapped revenue opportunity for the hotel sector.

The report which tracks the technology habits of 5,000 UK adult consumers, found that hotels “need to move quickly” as competition stiffens, from local bars and eateries and fast growing food delivery services, such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.   

Despite it being the norm and preferred method to book a room using a hotel’s own website (67%), this is where the technology journey for guests seems to end. 

The report found 60% of consumers have never used a technology solution to check in to a hotel, although there is demand for this service with 45% of those surveyed wanted to see automated check-in in the future

During their stay, over half of consumers said they have never used tech to order room service (70%), book activities or excursions (67%), reserve restaurant tables (64%) or pre-order food and drink (63%).

It also found 28% of hotel consumers consider ordering or paying for room service to be a challenge, however, among this group, 73% think a technology solution to the problem, such as an in-room tablet or phone app, would be an attractive idea.

Zonal said the figures “demonstrate how far behind the curve the UK hotel sector is to overseas operators”, who are adopting “futuristic” tech features such as robot butlers, keyless entry, blockchain reward systems and chatbots as in-room concierge.  

Zonal’s sales director, Tim Chapman, said: “There is a clear opportunity for hoteliers to use mobile-friendly and in-room technology to facilitate the customer journey, so that the guest experience is as fun, personal and hassle free as possible.

“There are financial gains to be made from additional income generated from on-site food and beverage sales, to activities such as spa treatments and trips. Pre-order and pay has quickly become the norm within hospitality and the research shows that consumers are expecting the same type of service when staying at or visiting a hotel.”  

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