Contactless Hotel Operations Have Moved from Nice-to-Have to a Necessity
The idea of contactless technology in the hotel industry is not new, though until now it has been regarded as an operational “luxury” rather than a must-have. But a confluence of factors set in motion by COVID-19 will require hoteliers to reevaluate nearly every aspect of how they do business – and redefine what’s essential.
According to an article on entrepreneur.com: “In these uncertain times, hotel operators must master competitive agility to bring back profitability and produce the significant value that has been lost over the last months. Competitive agility means they need to be prepared for boosting growth, become a champion at optimizing costs, and refresh the operating model by streamlining the way of working. Of course, all this needs to be done while also protecting the health and safety of employees, consumers, and business partners.”
The need to meet such criteria also is being underscored by the World Health Organization, which recently issued guidelines specifically for hoteliers to ensure that they operate safely. Its recommendations include multiple references to maintaining safe hygiene practices and appropriate social distance among guests and staff.
More than ever, the importance of untethering employees and giving them the ability to operate remotely – rather than in confined quarters – becomes apparent. For example, front-desk employees equipped with tablets not only can work in safer conditions, but they can also mitigate long lines and crowded lobbies to safeguard guests.
Likewise, mobile devices can enable housekeeping staff to better respond to guests by improving communication and scheduling of services, eliminating unnecessary interactions between them.
It will be imperative to employ a property management system that can quickly activate and manage an array of contactless services, which will require both built-in features that are core to the product as well as advanced integration capabilities. That combination opens the door to endless possibilities such as:
- Mobile key cards
- In-room ordering
- Passport/ID scanners
- TV-based remote checkout
- Wearables (e.g., contactless bracelets)
- Paperless operations (e.g., e-folios)
- Cashless payment
- Chatbots and robots
- Facial recognition
Achieving competitive agility also means having access to an ecosystem of integration partners to accelerate innovation. As much as Oracle invests in R&D and explores new technologies across various frontiers, Oracle’s hospitality partner network is unmatched in the industry for its scope and breadth, offering hoteliers best-of-breed solutions regardless of their origin. This approach assures faster speed-to-market, greater return on investment, and improved adaptability to whatever may come next.
As guests and staff increasingly recognize and appreciate contactless, such services no longer will be crisis necessities but staples of everyday expectations. Which underscores the key point made by entrepreneur.com: “The longer players take to innovate, the less relevant they will be for guests.”