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People today expect to be connected always and everywhere; sometimes it’s hard to believe that there was a world before smartphones and Wi-Fi. In the time since Wi-Fi became ubiquitous in hotels, apartments, and public spaces, it has fueled the evolution of connectivity in a lot of ways. Just like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the most basic needs start at the bottom, and you can’t get to the next level without a strong foundation. 

By now, everyone is aware that hotel giant Marriott International announced on Friday a massive data breach that goes back more than four years and may have affected up to 500 million customers worldwide. 

After two years of preparation, the FlyZoo Hotel — a futuristic property that uses interactive technologies to do everything from greet guests to deliver room service — is ready for business. 

Mobile technology is fast becoming central to the entire travel experience. Consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to research trips, book accommodation, check in at the airport, and access their hotel room. But one of the next big roles mobile has to play in the travel process is mobile payment. The idea of an entirely cashless society might still seem some way off, but mobile payment is gaining popularity. As it becomes more widely used, its fast and frictionless nature will bring benefits before, during and after a trip. 

Digital marketing, also known as internet marketing, plays a significant role to boost hotel website traffic and online bookings. Recently, many big announcements were made in the digital industry, for example when Facebook introduced a new video format for marketers, or when Google announced a board core algorithm. If you are a new hotelier and want to stay ahead in the industry, then you should know what’s going on in the hotel digital marketing industry. 
 



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Guest-Facing Kiosks Are Here to Stay

11/21/2016

From the guest’s point of view an excellent experience is one that is simply frictionless. No one wants a struggle to meet a basic need; today’s population insists on convenience. They want an experience without the friction of having to repeat things that have already been communicated, or spending time trying to solve issues that shouldn’t exist in the first place. Such friction takes away from the overall experience.

Guests Who Want to Serve Themselves

In an ideal setting, the guest can meet his or her needs effortlessly, without having to jump through hoops. Interactive kiosks in hospitality environments give guests control over their product browsing and purchasing decisions. Kiosks not only connect guests to more products, they also contribute to the overall brand and stay experience.
 
With this shift in shopping behavior, guests are becoming more empowered and accepting of self-service kiosks. In our do-it-yourself culture, users are happy to take control of their spending experience. This “grab and go” experience addresses the desires of today’s younger generations.

Greater Convenience Contributes to Guest Satisfaction

Hotel lobby pantries with kiosks make the experience simple and efficient for everyone. The guest can select, pay for her breakfast item, and be on the way to her business meeting without having to wait in line at a front desk, for example.

Perhaps the guest is taking in the scenery on the casino floor and needs to satisfy a craving for a pumpkin latte from the coffee shop on the third floor. Or consider guests who use the kiosk to order dinner from any of the restaurants on property and schedule the meal to be delivered just when the guest is returning to his or her room. Tracking down the restaurant and waiting to served will become a pattern of the past. Kiosks have their place in delivering the most imaginative experiences for guests, making for truly unique experiences.

Touchscreen kiosks are also being used to promote new products, even suggesting additional items that might accompany the guest’s intended purchase. This suggestive sell or upsell increases guest spending and your bottom line. Studies show that this self-serve shopping experience leads to customers making larger purchases, boosting overall sales.

Why Operators Should Consider Kiosks

As automation tools and kiosks continue to advance in functionality and reliability, operators should expect to see significant ROIs soon after deployment. Building guest loyalty, reducing costs, saving time, maximizing sales and building brand exposure are all compelling reasons operators should consider expanding some of their workflows to self-service kiosks.
 
Kiosks are inevitable – they are expected to have an increasing presence that supplements hospitality experiences, bringing enormous benefits. Those benefits often include:

• Labor cost savings
• Reduced line-ups
• Increased guest engagement
• Streamlined data entry and management
• Greater analytics accuracy regarding effectiveness of promotions
• Mobile integration with reduced technical complexity
• Extended access to even reach more guests
 
Through kiosk interactions, guests are building a relationship with the property’s products and services, which in turn increases revenue for the business.
 
As self-service kiosks play an ever-increasing role in guests’ lives, the functions those kiosks perform are also expanding. Combined with newer technology that includes smartphone apps and cloud-based information storage, kiosks are able to provide services which were previously unheard of and are now available virtually anywhere your guests prefer to be.
About The Author
Shuja Rahman
Principal Product Manager
Agilysys, Inc.


Mr. Shuja Rahman is the Principal Product Manager at Agilysys, a leading technology company providing advanced software solutions for point-of-sale, kiosk, property management, analytics and mobile solutions for the hospitality industry. While leading the strategic development of the company’s next-generation rGuest® Buy kiosk technology, Mr. Rahman is responsible for bringing innovative capabilities to market with a strong focus on guest-facing and self-service F&B ordering experiences. He has extensive enterprise software product management experience ranging from Fortune 50 to startups. Mr. Rahman received his MBA from Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.

 
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