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“It’s interesting that the industry still sees technology as a capital expense when it’s potentially the


biggest revenue booster hospitality has ever had access to” Patience Tagborlo, Wi-Q


In-room ordering provides accessible options


Although global hotel company GLH Hotels has seen huge growth in mobile bookings for accommodation over recent years, it hasn’t yet seen guests fully embrace their smartphones within the hotel environment. “Usually if they want anything from us in terms of engagement, they’ll ask,” chief commercial officer David Taylor says. This is despite the fact the group has developed advanced apps, such as the one available at Amba Hotel Charing Cross. It allows guests to ‘discover London’, check


out the hotel’s meetings and events offerings, look up weather and flight information, browse the in-room dining options and review the hotel’s restaurants and bars. “Typically, when you check in, you can link


through a sign-in process to the app, so that when you’re in your room, you can go into the in-room dining menu on the app and order food,” Taylor explains. “That will then go through the hotel system and to the kitchen, the food will be prepared and delivered to your room and it automatically gets charged to your account.” Initially, the team had expected millennials


We need a room service revolution


By Dan Rodgers, chief executive, QikServe Room service revenues have dropped in recent years, prompting some hotels to ditch the service altogether. But diamond-rated hotels don’t have the option to scrap it, so they need to listen to their millennial market and let smartphones drive a room service revolution. As the fastest-growing


travel segment, millennials and the generations to follow them are more technologically oriented, more connected and less tolerant of brands that don’t enable them to socialise, make plans, transact and share their experiences. So the millennials’ coming of spending age couldn’t have happened at a better time for hotels that are keen to keep their sparkle. Room service


only option for guests. “It’s our responsibility to give the best available choice to guests and it’s my view that rather than trying to force your audience to adopt a technology in a cer- tain way, we should provide people with a free flow choice. If someone is comfortable order- ing room service via telephone, great, and if they prefer to do it on mobile, fantastic. We should be able to do both,” he stresses.


THE FUTURE’S INTEGRATED Although the majority of


operators


know they can work without integration between systems, as they haven’t had much choice until now, integration will be critical moving forward, not only to provide the joined-up experience that guests are increasingly going to expect, but also to enable business evolution. “Self-service ordering and


www.thecaterer.com


doesn’t need to be a terminal case. Instead of depriving guests of this once beloved service, hotels can give it a 21st century facelift and make it profitable once again. There is a large, affluent


demographic hungry for mobile interaction and expecting lightning fast service and convenience, meaning a digital dining experience is ripe for the picking.


payment needs to be integrated fully into hotels’ existing point-of-sale systems to guar- antee the best guest experience,” says Dan Rodgers, chief executive of QikServe. “In addition, by ensuring that manage- ment systems, point-of-sale, loyalty and self- service channel platforms are integrated, customers are able to experience a complete end-to-end journey, whereby they can tailor their own hotel experience through what- ever channel they want to use at the time they want to use it.” QikServe offers an app called the


Waiter in your Pocket, which allows customers to order and pay directly from their phone and can be inte- grated seamlessly into existing apps and back office systems. “For example, a customer might want to book a table at the hotel


in particular to embrace the option to order food via their smartphones. “We thought it would become second nature,” Taylor says. “In some cases it has, but in most cases, not yet.” That said, Taylor does think in-room


ordering will take off and become commonplace in the months and years to come. “Technology is part of the present and the future; people just get used to it and see it as an easy and accessible option,” he notes. “Currently, we’re just going through the


early stages of exploration and learning, but once it becomes the norm, it will be readily adopted by most.” That’s why GLH Hotels will continue to


keep up with technology trends. “If you’re with the programme, you’ve got a chance to be part of the future; if you’re not, you don’t,” Taylor concludes.


restaurant on their laptop, pre-order their meal via mobile closer to the time of visit, add items to their meal during dinner, and finally receive a mobile spa voucher as a reward for their loyalty after their stay,” adds Rodgers. Taylor also thinks hoteliers will place much more emphasis on integration moving forward. “Our levels of tolerance for putting up with things that aren’t right are getting ever lower these days, and this is creating quite an exciting phase for the hos- pitality industry because it gives us so many more options than we’ve been able to enjoy in the past,” he says.


“These options make businesses more effi- cient, significantly enhance the customer experience and open up the communication between our guests and ourselves. If we can get a single picture, it makes the whole thing so much more manageable and understandable.”


Technology Prospectus 2017 | 21


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