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A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

As somebody who’s helped to grow a company from 13 people to nearly a thousand, I know very well the excitement that comes with having a mindset focused entirely on growth. Every newly acquired customer, every new office and every milestone means the gap between you and your nearest competitor is that much bigger and that much harder to overtake.



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Guest-Facing Kiosks Are Here to Stay

11/21/2016
by Shuja Rahman

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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