2017 The Year Of Digital Hospitality

{Source: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-spight-9720a216/)

This is a a photo that has been circulating, of a Starbucks in California with no line and yet a counter full of mobile orders waiting for their on-the-go owners to arrive. Starbucks’ success in mobile commerce has highlighted to the service industry that consumers have already voted for the convenience offered by digital hospitality. We have seen the rise of kiosk ordering systems with chains like Panera and McDonald’s. In implementing these machines, both companies have incorporated table service, adding a new level of in-store convenience.

2017 may be the year that the service industry tackles the dichotomy of this demand for the convenience of digital hospitality, versus our distinctly human wiring for personal interaction. With the rise of mobile apps, order kiosks, chatbots, and social media; consumers are coming to expect online engagement at their hospitality venues. However, patron loyalty will still track to how guests are treated by staff — and how that made them feel about the business or brand.

Here too emerging technology plays its part as machine learning algorithms work to tailor service for consumer preferences. Patrons can expect an increasingly personalised guest experience that’s laser-focused on their loyalty to a brand or business. It is worth revisiting a Forbes article from last year which perfectly captured how corporations need to focus on personalisation as distrust in companies grows. The article explains the way businesses can accomplish this in an authentic way through personalisation and relationship building. Digital hospitality can assist companies with this goal, for example by offering staff cues to expertly tailor in-venue service to each individual patron’s tastes.

The recipe for how technical convenience and digitally-enhanced personalised service are brought together will power the venues and businesses that prosper most from the digital transformation of hospitality.