Hospitality industry: How is digital revolutionising the whole sector?

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The health crisis has had a profound impact on the hospitality industry, which has had to reinvent itself and diversify its sources of revenue in order to survive. Customer satisfaction, cost optimisation and innovation are more than ever at the center of this challenge. Digitisation is an optimal way for the hospitality sector to achieve these objectives. 

 

How do companies in this sector reorganise their processes and activities to keep up with digitalisation? 

 

Optimising intra-departmental communication is crucial in the hospitality sector. Time and resources are consumed because information is communicated verbally or on paper, requiring retyping. Therefore, new technologies have their place in the hotel industry in order to facilitate the customer's experience and better meet their expectations. Digital tools are going to spread throughout hotels to serve the hotel industry. 

 

The new challenges of digitalisation in hotels

 

More and more operators are optimising their management by relying on software or new technologies (Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence...). Just look at how the reception of certain hotels has evolved with the gradual elimination of reception desks, the deployment of QR codes, or even reception robots. Staff gain in efficiency by reducing purely administrative tasks. As for the customer, he gains autonomy, while having access to customised services that contribute to the smooth running of his stay. In the back office, all the jobs are being transformed, such as the bursar's office and stewarding, a new activity that is nonetheless fully concerned by this transformation. 

 

Welcome customers in the best conditions 

 

The quality of customer reception is a fundamental issue. This is why several professions ensure this care and the services that relate to the customer relationship.

 

Before arriving at the hotel 

 

Having all the information about the guest’s stay is valuable: saving time at check-in, detailed offer to the guest, preparation and anticipation for the hotel... Information such as breakfast content  and other special requests can be sent to the hotel via a digitised information sheet, which can itself be automatically sent to the customer when booking. 

 

Valet parking / luggage handler: the first contact with the customer 

 

The valet parking/luggage handler is responsible for parking vehicles and taking care of customers' luggage. To simplify their tasks, it is possible to set up an application allowing the customer to book a time slot directly online, while filling all the information relating to their stay (date of arrival and departure in particular). The valet parking/luggage handler then receives an alert about the place and time when he has to pick up his customer. At the end of his stay, the customer receives a notification that his vehicle is ready. 

 

Reception and greeting of guests

 

The receptionist is responsible for welcoming guests upon their arrival at the hotel, while confirming any administrative arrangements for their stay. After advising them on the tourist activities around the area, they hand over the keys to their room. Do you know that the reception of guests can also be digitised? As in airports, for example, travellers can check in/out directly via check-in kiosks. QR-codes can be used to open rooms with a smartphone, but also to order breakfast or any other service in the hotel. 

 

Online concierge service

 

Having an online concierge tool gives access to the hotel's entire address book, its partners and the offers to which guests may be entitled. The customer saves time in his research and benefits from the hotel's know-how and experience. In addition, this tool can be equipped with a lost and found function. This function allows you to take pictures of objects and assigns a storage number to them. 

 

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Increase efficiency in stewarding activities

 

The Stewarding Manager must carry out several tasks within the hotel: management and supervision of teams, maintenance of rooms and kitchens, inventory, stock management, as well as the purchase of supplies and goods. Those are missions that will certainly benefit from digitisation.

 

Management of housekeeping activities 

 

Dedicated tools allow hotels to optimise their housekeeping activities, plan preventive maintenance and improve internal communication. For room maintenance, housekeepers will be able to access various information via a digital checklist on their smartphone or tablet: data on the condition of the room, what remains to be done, the equipment needed to prepare the room, as well as the timing dedicated to this preparation. Once the room has been cleaned, an alert is sent to the housekeeper so that they can carry out their checks. The front desk is then notified to inform the guest that their room is available. 

 

Bursar’s office management

 

Today, the bursar can use digital tools to manage stock inventory and supply within the hotel. They can use checklists dedicated to the inventory of materials, while having a direct overview of the bursar's office. The inventory of goods can be done directly on the application, even without an internet connection. As for the reception of goods, a dedicated tool facilitates the controls at reception, in particular via pre-filled digital forms. The electronic signature module allows users to confirm the delivery.

 

Maintenance management 

 

Digitising the maintenance process allows users to set up an automatic alert system, useful at all levels of the establishment. For example, maintenance agents are alerted in real time about the location and time of their intervention, by priority order. Technicians will also be able to update their intervention logs directly via the application. Evaluations of equipment requiring recurring maintenance can also be managed digitally. The technician can thus access the provisional schedule of maintenance work to be carried out as well as various information (parts to be ordered, subcontractor management, etc.) before each intervention.

 

The maintenance agents carry out a periodic check of the safety equipment with the subcontractors (smoke detector, fire extinguisher, lift maintenance...). The digital application allows them to update and monitor the regulations concerning the PAB (Public Access Building), so any evolution and change in law will be monitored and the measures to be taken can easily be added to the action plan.

 

Connected equipment 

 

Connected equipment is a tool of the digital revolution: connected earpieces for the valet parking, a fridge with a connected sensor, maid/valet trolleys with a geolocation chip... all of these are elements that lighten the workload of operators. It is now possible to place orders automatically when a drop in stock is observed: the information is then relayed directly to the bursar who can place the order. 

 

Manage teams and deal with recruitment 

 

The Stewarding Manager will be able to use digital technology to consult the personnel files in conjunction with the Human Resources (HR) department. The API modules can be interfaced with HRIS-type solutions to access HR data more easily. The automatic alert system allows employees to update and renew their training and authorisations internally.

 

So before starting a digitisation process within a hotel, it is important to carry out a preliminary analysis to identify the different tools that already exist and to identify the possible link with the new solution. The benefit of this approach is to pool the information within a single platform in order to avoid any administrative overload related to the retranscription of information. 

 

To go further: 

> Discover BlueKanGo for the Hospitality Sector 

> Download the free guide "How to cope with the necessary digitisation of the hospitality sector?"

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