Company insight

Frictionless is the way forwards for hotels

With the pandemic changing hotel-customer interactions for good, Orietta Verdugo, hospitality, restaurant, gaming and entertainment general manager at Intel, explains why now is the right time for hotels to take advantage of data and technology to provide a more personalised, frictionless guest experience. This would appeal not only for seamless ease-of-use reasons, and to streamline the accuracy of further sales, but also be safer, cleaner and more sanitised for customers.

How has Covid-19 altered the relationship between hotels and guests? Orietta Verdugo: Health and safety became the number one concern for guests when booking a hotel stay. Brands quickly responded with safety initiatives, from frequent cleaning of common areas to modifying housekeeping schedules. As hotels began to open their doors, they became creative on ways to attract guests. Being a loyalty member was no longer just about perks but about personalising the experience for the guest. Some brands offered daytime room

rentals for office space and redesigned conference rooms, adding collaboration technology for hybrid meetings. Hotels became innovative with food and beverage offerings by adding autonomous room delivery from restaurants. Brands provided options for guests on how to interact with staff members using technology such as a mobile phones, kiosks or laptops.

In what ways can new frictionless technologies enhance this relationship?

Convenience is top-of-mind for many travellers. Providing options for guests to use frictionless technologies, whether that is checking in, purchasing a drink in a grab-and-go mini market, or asking for customer service, will enhance the relationship with the guest. Being able to check in and go straight to your room after a long journey without having to stand in a crowded lobby line is favourable for many post-Covid. We have seen an increased adoption of

self-service kiosks in hotels to help with frictionless experiences. The advantage


Smart technologies are increasingly dominant in hotels as guests look to personalise their experience of a stay.

of these devices is that with AI, you can authenticate the guest and make them contactless by integrating gesture or voice technology and contactless payment. Kiosks help with the speed of checking in or purchasing an item by avoiding long lines in the common areas. A kiosk will always remember to prompt an upgrade to a guest, and can look up the guest preferences from their last stay to entice them with an offer. For hoteliers, the business drivers to

invest in frictionless technology is to provide a contactless experience and increase the speed of the long queues. Self-service helps with increasing sales, and provides a personalised experience to guests, making them feel welcomed and wanting to return.

Why is now the right time for hotels to take advantage of data and technology to provide a more personalised, frictionless experience?

In 2020, many consumers adopted a variety of omnichannel strategies for shopping and [buying] food, from both a convenience and health and safety standpoint. As hotels begin to open their doors and prepare for travellers, guests are expecting similar experiences.

What does frictionless mean for hotels?

Frictionless means allowing guests to interact and transact seamlessly across the property through different technology touchpoints, whether that be a kiosk at check-in or using their mobile device to enter the spa. It’s all about making that experience as seamless and easy as possible for the guest. Much of the technology focus is around self-service solutions that can use touch or contactless technology such as gesture, voice or mobile devices to purchase, order and check in. Frictionless reduces guest wait times, it makes transactions easy and convenient, and the technology has a superb user experience.

Hotel Management International /

Robert Kneschke/

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