Tech Checks in @In­dian Ho­tels

DQ Channels - - Front page - SHAMAEL FA­TIMA shamaels@cy­berme­dia.co.in

The emerg­ing hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor has many folds in terms of de­vel­op­ment and growth. The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is much broader than most other in­dus­tries. The ma­jor­ity of busi­ness niches are com­posed of only a hand­ful of dif­fer­ent busi­nesses, but this in­dus­try ap­plies to nearly any com­pany that is fo­cused on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and meet­ing leisurely needs rather than ba­sic ones. While this in­dus­try is very broad, there are some defin­ing aspects that are im­por­tant to un­der­stand. The key note is that this tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment are there to en­hance, not to re­place, the core of­fer­ings of a hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness.

One of the most defin­ing aspects of this in­dus­try is that it fo­cuses on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. While this is true of nearly ev­ery busi­ness, this in­dus­try re­lies en­tirely on cus­tomers’ be­ing happy. This is be­cause th­ese busi­nesses are based on pro­vid­ing lux­ury ser­vices. Very few hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses pro­vide a ba­sic ser­vice that peo­ple need, like food or cloth­ing.

An­other defin­ing as­pect of this in­dus­try is its re­liance on dis­pos­able in­come and leisure time. For this rea­son, the ma­jor­ity of th­ese busi­nesses are for tourists or rich pa­trons. If dis­pos­able in­come de­creases due to a slump or re­ces­sion, then th­ese are of­ten the first busi­nesses to suf­fer be­cause cus­tomers won’t have the ex­tra money to en­joy their ser­vices.

The use of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try has grown tremen­dously over the past 20 years. This jour­ney has not al­ways

been smooth, but it has be­come clear that in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy is now a crit­i­cal com­pet­i­tive weapon in the in­dus­try.

If we talk about In­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy it was first used in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try in the 1950s, when multi­na­tional ho­tel chains be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing with the de­vel­op­ing field of com­puter sci­ence. As in most other in­dus­tries, the ma­jor­ity of the ini­tial ap­pli­ca­tions fo­cused on ac­count­ing and au­tomat­ing repet­i­tive and time­con­sum­ing tasks.

How­ever, such con­ver­sions were usu­ally only par­tially suc­cess­ful, and a large num­ber of changes to busi­ness pro­cesses and pro­ce­dures were of­ten needed to ac­com­mo­date the re­quire­ments of the com­put­er­ized sys­tem. More­over, the ex­pense and tech­ni­cal­ity in­volved in both de­vel­op­ing and run­ning sys­tems made the use of com­put­er­i­za­tion eco­nom­i­cal only for the largest com­pa­nies.

De­spite th­ese prob­lems, the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try at large has pi­o­neered many in­for­ma­tion sys­tem in­no­va­tions. Air­line reser­va­tion sys­tems, for ex­am­ple, were com­plet­ing elec­tronic com­merce trans­ac­tions long be­fore the com­mer­cial­iza­tion of the In­ter­net and the dot-com bub­ble of the late nineties. In the early 1970s, the Ho­tel St Jacque in Paris in­tro­duced soft­ware that au­to­mated reser­va­tions, check-in, guest billing and var­i­ous aspects of man­age­ment con­trol. Punched cards were is­sued to guests, al­low­ing charges to be in­stantly posted di­rectly onto their ‘elec­tronic’ bill.

There are a num­ber of so­lu­tions that have al­ready be­gun to change the way that busi­ness is done, or the way that it will be done in the near fu­ture. The com­mon at­tribute that they all share is the fact that they al­low busi­nesses to have a more con­ve­nient, in­formed and valu­able re­la­tion­ship with their cus­tomers.

Ashish Khanna, As­sis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent, Cor­po­rate IT, The Oberoi Group added, “Tech­nol­ogy has been a driver in hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for­ever since our guest travel from dif­fer­ent ge­ogra­phies and a lot of time are ex­posed to much lat­est tech­nolo­gies than we cur­rently use in this part of globe. This fac­tor keeps all IT hoteliers on their toes to stay ahead of the curve. We as a group were the first ones to bring VSAT in In­dia and later wire­less tech­nolo­gies to keep our guest feel at home away from home and stay con­nected.”

Tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing at a faster pace than ever be­fore, and this is chang­ing both the ex­pec­ta­tions of pa­trons as well as the way in which the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try con­ducts its busi­ness. Some of the trends in in­dus­try are lead­ing to great im­prove­ments and sav­ings for hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try com­pa­nies; while some are chang­ing how ho­tel de­vel­op­ers plan their build­ings, in­fra­struc­ture, man­age­ment struc­ture and staffing re­quire­ments.

Kadam Jeet Jain, Co-Founder, Treebo shared how tech­nol­ogy has boosted the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor and brought a ter­rific change in the in­dus­try. He added that tech­nol­ogy has played a sig­nif­i­cant role which has leaded the ho­tel own­ers to au­to­mate the ho­tel and run the ho­tel in a more sig­nif­i­cant man­ner with the ad­vent of so many cloud based prop­erty man­age­ment sys­tems.

An ef­fec­tive CRM makes it eas­ier to build on­go­ing re­la­tion­ships with cus­tomers, as well as mak­ing im­por­tant de­tails eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to all staff via a cloud-based ap­pli­ca­tion, talk­ing about CRM prac­tices Kadam Jeet Jain added, “CRM is es­sen­tial to pro­vide a de­light­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to the cus­tomers and for a hos­pi­tal­ity brand it be­comes re­ally im­por­tant to per­son­al­ize the ex­pe­ri­ence of the guest, to do that you need to know more about the guest pref­er­ences and store it in the CRM and later recheck it when the guest vis­its the ho­tel the next time this way a cus­tomer gets a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence al­to­gether.”

An­other as­pect in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor is the turn­ing of the com­put­ers and reg­is­ter for­mat and pick­ing the smart way of man­ag­ing the data en­try. Clunky com­puter hard­ware has be­come vir­tu­ally ex­tinct from most mod­ern homes as desk­top com­put­ers get re­placed with more mo­bile tablets and smart phones. Many hos­pi­tal­ity re­lated busi­nesses find that mo­bile devices fit their strate­gic vi­sion, op­er­a­tional meth­ods and bud­gets bet­ter than tra­di­tional com­put­ers in many cases. Pro­fes­sion­als can en­gage guests from any­where on the prop­erty and take care of their needs in real time when ho­tels re­place the sta­tion­ary desk­tops with fast, mo­bile com­put­ing devices.

San­jay Wad­hwa, Gen­eral Man­ager Radis­son, Udaipur, shared that, “Frac­tion of busi­ness is al­most 10-15% from the on­line book­ing con­cept; it is mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence and also bring­ing a fac­tor of con­ve­nience

to book a room in a ho­tel and get al­to­gether a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence from the your booked place.

Ra­men­dra Pratap Singh, Gen­eral Man­ager, Park Plaza, Noida be­lieves that tech­nol­ogy has changed the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor in a vast man­ner, talk­ing about con­cept of on­line book­ing he said, “On­line book­ing has con­nected peo­ple from far of places and made their travel easy and chaos-free. He also claimed that 30-35 frac­tion of busi­ness of Park Plaza comes from on­line book­ing.”

Trend­ing con­cept of elec­tronic point of sale is a com­put­er­ized equip­ment that per­forms all tasks of a store check­out counter. It al­lows pay­ments by bank or credit cards, ver­i­fies trans­ac­tions, pro­vides sales re­ports, co­or­di­nates in­ven­tory data, and per­forms sev­eral other ser­vices nor­mally pro­vided by em­ploy­ees.

Elec­tronic point of sale (EPOS) sys­tems are be­com­ing more and more so­phis­ti­cated, al­low­ing hos­pi­tal­ity venues to op­er­ate more ef­fi­ciently and pro­vide bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice. By in­te­grat­ing with CRM, in­ven­tory man­age­ment and other tools, in­for­ma­tion on ca­pac­ity, reser­va­tions, stock, loy­alty pro­grams and more is ac­ces­si­ble at the touch of a but­ton. In ad­di­tion, cloud­based POS ap­pli­ca­tions are be­com­ing more com­mon, which means that staff can process, or­ders, book­ings and pay­ments di­rectly from a tablet. This af­fords them greater mo­bil­ity and adds an­other level of con­ve­nience for the cus­tomer

Ra­men­dra from Park Plaza added, “EPOS helps in en­ter­tain­ing the cus­tomer needs bet­ter by look­ing back to the cus­tomer his­tory while jot­ting down the or­der.”

“EPOS is the fu­ture. To­day guests are not only avail­able phys­i­cally to the out­let but they are omni-present. One can do on­line order­ing us­ing web, Mo­bile Apps etc. Ho­tels need to gear up to tap all th­ese con­sumers de­mands and de­liver it any­time any­where,” added Ashish Khanna from The Oberai.

“In our un­der­stand­ing EPOS sys­tems are re­placed by mo­bile apps post in­ven­tion of touch based I-PAD and tablet (2010) on­wards. Our se­lected ho­tels have started de­ploy­ing I-PAD and tablet in place of tra­di­tional F&B menu cards. This helps guests un­der­stand the F&B items in a much in­ter­est­ing way us­ing vis­ual com­mu­ni­ca­tion with de­tails of a dish sup­ported by a Video and pic­tures, Calo­rie con­tent, prepa­ra­tion method and serv­ing time etc. It is be­com­ing very pop­u­lar among Gen­er­a­tion Y and Gen­er­a­tion M guests,” said Har­ish Chan­dra, Gen­eral Man­ager- In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Sarovar Ho­tels.

In the largely cus­tomer driven hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, the use of tech­nol­ogy to speed op­er­a­tions and gather de­tailed cus­tomer in­for­ma­tion is not op­tional. This rings true about tech­nol­ogy in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for large chain es­tab­lish­ments as well as lit­tle known, mom and pop hoteliers, restau­rants and trans­porta­tion com­pa­nies.

“Th­ese days, peo­ple are 24*7 on­line. As such they are al­ways look­ing for ev­ery­thing on their mo­biles. If a ho­tel has an app, that can be in­stalled by a cus­tomer and thereby he can re­ceive cus­tom­ized of­fers and dis­counts which oth­ers may be un­able to re­ceive. So, this is again a mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor to in­vite more peo­ple into our ho­tel and ex­pe­ri­ence the so­phis­ti­ca­tion and de­light by stay­ing there. Plus with smart­phones, peo­ple can ac­tu­ally en­joy, have a look at the prop­erty and book has­sle-free.” Added Har­ish Chan­dra, Gen­eral Man­ager-In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Sarovar Ho­tels.

The pro­lif­er­a­tion of smart­phones is yet an­other op­por­tu­nity for hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses to im­prove cus­tomer ser­vice. Hil­ton World­wide has taken ad­van­tage of this by of­fer­ing guests the abil­ity to check in and out, se­lect their room, check maps and make ex­tra re­quests or pur­chases all from their smart­phones. And an even more revo­lu­tion­ary ser­vice will soon be made avail­able, us­ing se­cu­rity tech­nol­ogy that al­lows smart­phones to func­tion as room keys.

In many air­ports, it’s no longer nec­es­sary to stand in a queue to check in and peo­ple are ex­pect­ing the same kind of easy, tech­nol­o­gy­driven check-ins at ho­tels. Guests want to be able to do ev­ery­thing from check­ing in at a venue’s au­to­mated kiosk to order­ing room ser­vice with a dig­i­tal de­vice in­stead of stand­ing in queues and mov­ing around the ho­tel premises to or­der food.

Ho­tel in­dus­try with­out IT is not pos­si­ble start­ing from the prop­erty man­age­ment sys­tem to the billing sys­tem to the Wi-Fi to the cam­eras ev­ery where there is a pres­ence of IT. Time where things are hap­pen­ing with a sin­gle touch, cus­tomers are plac­ing or­ders with­out any has­sles, check out fa­cil­ity has been made easy with the emerg­ing con­cept of mo­bile apps where you can check-in, check-out any time of the day or night with­out both­er­ing the staff, added Anir­ban Chat­ter­jee, As­sis­tant Man­ager- Sys­tems, The Son­net Ho­tel, Kolkata.

Thanks to dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion and so­cial me­dia, guests also ex­pect dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tions with the ho­tel to be per­son­al­ized. When in­vest­ing in dig­i­tal apps for check-ins, room ser­vice and other cus­tomer-ori­ented dig­i­tal in­ter­ac­tions, ho­tel oper­a­tors are in­vest­ing in sys­tems and tech­nolo­gies that can per­son­al­ize the ex­pe­ri­ence for guests, in­clud­ing a guest’s name be­ing dis­played on the wel­come desk at a dig­i­tal check-in sta­tion; their food pref­er­ences or past pur­chases be­ing dis­played in a dig­i­tal room-ser­vice or­der sys­tem; and sim­i­lar.

J P Aggarwal from Jaypee Res­i­dency, com­mented on the emerg­ing con­cept of IT in hos­pi­tal­ity and men­tioned that, “IT is set­ting a bench­mark by giv­ing both the staff and cus­tomers an ex­cel­lent ser­vice of tak­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­vid­ing it at the same place.”

Like many of the other tech­nol­ogy trends in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, in­vest­ing in a check-in re­quires a small ini­tial in­vest­ment and can lead to greater ef­fi­ciency and sav­ings as ho­tel staff are able to fo­cus on cus­tomer ser­vice and prop­erty de­vel­op­ers don’t have to cre­ate large static re­cep­tion desks at each en­trance and ho­tel lo­ca­tion.

“Smart­phones opens up lot of new and ex­cit­ing chan­nels for hos­pi­tal­ity con­sumer apps are now avail­able to be of­fered on guest phones to watch their own con­tent on guest room tv’s, Guest can re­ceive their room key much be­fore they ar­rive at the ho­tel, They can or­der food or

book a spa us­ing ho­tel apps be­fore their ar­rival at the ho­tel. Th­ese are very few to name but op­por­tu­ni­ties are much on both Guest and Ad­min side of ho­tel,” shared Ashish Khanna, from The Oberai.

Mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als are trained to fol­low the money, and this means en­gag­ing cus­tomers where they nat­u­rally con­gre­gate. Cur­rently, the in­ter­net is that place. One the fastest grow­ing tools for in­ter­net mar­keters to­day is so­cial me­dia. Any hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness that wants to con­tinue stay­ing vi­able uses so­cial me­dia to forge deeper re­la­tion­ships on­line with its po­ten­tial cus­tomers. In­stead of us­ing out­dated out­bound mar­ket­ing cam­paigns that go largely ig­nored, th­ese hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als pro­vide valu­able in­for­ma­tion about up­dated ameni­ties and spe­cial pro­mo­tions to site vis­i­tors who are ac­tu­ally in­ter­ested in what the mar­keters have to say.

How­ever, this newly ex­ploited re­la­tion­ship build­ing tool can be a dou­ble edged sword if cus­tomers want to com­plain about a poor prod­uct or ser­vice in a very pub­lic way. The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try busi­ness that ex­ploits so­cial me­dia for mar­ket­ing pur­poses must be pre­pared to an­swer their new friends ap­pro­pri­ately and promptly. The ease and speed of mod­ern in­ter­net tech­nolo­gies of­fer cor­po­rate so­cial me­dia mar­keters a way to hold them­selves ac­count­able for cus­tomer ser­vice is­sues.

Tech­nol­ogy has in­fil­trated al­most ev­ery as­pect of our lives and ho­tel de­vel­op­ers need to re­al­ize that al­most any per­son check­ing in at a ho­tel, re­sort, spa or lodge, will have a smart­phone in their pock­ets.

Many com­pa­nies in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try are al­ready us­ing so­cial me­dia to their ad­van­tage as guests check-in on lo­ca­tion-based so­cial me­dia apps, tweet about their ex­pe­ri­ence on Twit­ter and share their hol­i­day pho­tos with friends and fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram and Face­book. This trend will con­tinue and ho­tels can ex­pect to see even more so­cial me­dia en­gage­ment from guests who use th­ese plat­forms to give feed­back about their ex­pe­ri­ence, com­plain and give com­pli­ments about their stay. Ho­tel staff is also ex­pected to pro­vide feed­back and ad­dress and com­plaints or queries from guests in re­al­time.

From an on­line, rep­u­ta­tion man­age­ment per­spec­tive, this is a trend that mar­keters and ho­tel man­age­ment need to man­age proac­tively. Con­sumers don’t make de­ci­sions about where they’re go­ing to travel to or book a stay in a vac­uum – they turn to com­mu­nity-de­vel­oped con­tent and rat­ing sys­tems such as Trip Ad­vi­sor and so­cial me­dia to make de­ci­sions about hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions, ho­tels and leisure. This shift has led to many ho­tel and leisure groups de­vel­op­ing ac­tive so­cial me­dia mon­i­tor­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies in or­der to stay on top of what’s be­ing said about them on­line and mak­ing sure that both mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tional staff ad­dress feed­back that has been given on­line.

An ad­di­tional way in which op­er­a­tor can take full ad­van­tage of tech­nol­ogy in this space is us­ing it to com­mu­ni­cate how well they are do­ing (in real time) with re­spect to their var­i­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives (such as real time elec­tric­ity/wa­ter us­age re­port­ing, etc.)

Har­ish from Sarovar Ho­tel chain said, “We are more promi­nently spread­ing our wings of brand aware­ness through Face­book, Twit­ter, Linkedin and Google plus. This is be­cause th­ese plat­forms are very hap­pen­ing and in­vite a lot more peo­ple. The best ad­van­tage of us­ing th­ese so­cial plat­forms is that we get traf­fic from both or­ganic and re­fer­ral links. Plus con­tests, quizzes, in­trigu­ing pic­tures etc. are a way of in­ter­act­ing with peo­ple. One on one way in­ter­ac­tion through replies and com­ments is a bet­ter way to stay con­nected with peo­ple even when you are not phys­i­cally present.”

Ad­vances in smart ap­pli­ances and home au­to­ma­tion are be­gin­ning to reach the ho­tel in­dus­try, and will no doubt have a greater in­flu­ence in the fu­ture. Light­ing, tem­per­a­ture, blinds, alarms, TV, ra­dio and room ser­vice will all be con­trolled from a sin­gle tablet de­vice, or from a sin­gle app that guests can down­load and lo­gin to from their own de­vice.

Ashish Khanna from Oberai Group stated about giv­ing a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence, “We have de­vel­oped a bou­quet o ser­vices bun­deled as Oberoi en­hance which is of­fered at our Oberoi Brand of ho­tels. The ser­vices are de­liv­ered on IPAD and the guest can con­trol all equip­ments in the room us­ing this ipad right from in room light­ing, Air con­di­tion­ing, cur­tains, tv and door lock etc. Guest can watch movies on de­mand us­ing this ser­vice and also or­der their food in­room and mon­i­tor their over­all spends in the ho­tel by look­ing at their in­voice. This has taken the guest ex­pe­ri­ence to a dif­fer­ent level.”

De­spite the many changes that are be­ing brought on by th­ese tech­nolo­gies, the truth is that they are there to en­hance, not to re­place, the core of­fer­ings of a hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness. Top qual­ity food and cus­tomer ser­vice are still the fun­da­men­tal pil­lars of the in­dus­try, but the tech­nolo­gies dis­cussed above can make it eas­ier for you to con­sis­tently de­liver a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence to your guests.

Har­ish fur­ther added that, “Guest prefers sim­ple elec­tronic & tech­nol­ogy sys­tems and wishes to ex­pe­ri­ence a ‘home away from home’. In this view we pre­fer to use KISS prin­ci­ple -‘keep it sim­ple and silly’ - in­stead of over­do­ing or over play­ing with tech­nol­ogy.”

“To­day’s trav­eller car­ries many Wi-Fi en­abled elec­tronic gad­gets. They wish to use them with the same ease in a ho­tel guest room the way they uFse them at their home or of­fice with­out any train­ing or hu­man in­ter­ven­tions. Mo­bile apps and so­lu­tions are be­ing de­ployed in ho­tels where guest can au­to­mate room com­pletely i.e. con­trol­ling A.C., set­ting lights as per time au­to­mat­i­cally or guest can set it as per his\her mood, play­ing mu­sic and video from their per­sonal de­vice etc.

Ho­tels will in­creas­ingly in­stall smart room ac­cess sys­tems that al­low guests to un­lock their doors by sim­ply swip­ing their phones

across a key­less pad on the door. Star­wood (owner of the Sher­a­ton, We­ston and “W” ho­tel chains) has al­ready up­graded 30,000 room locks across 150 ho­tels with this sys­tem and Hil­ton will be im­ple­ment­ing a sim­i­lar sys­tem at 10 of their US prop­er­ties. In 2016, they will be de­ploy­ing the smart room key tech­nol­ogy glob­ally. This tech­nol­ogy will mean that guests don’t have to worry about pick­ing up keys and front desk staff won’t have to is­sue new keys in the event that a guest loses their room key. An­other in­no­va­tive way to of­fer a key­less ex­pe­ri­ence is through fin­ger­print-ac­ti­vated room en­try sys­tems and retina scan­ning devices. Retina scan­ning is even more ac­cu­rate and se­cure than fin­ger­print scans.

Talk­ing about serv­ing the guest with a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence, Ar­pana Singh, As­sis­tant Man­ager- In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Radis­son, Udaipur com­mented, “We have cor­po­rate poli­cies in­volved in all the Carl­son ho­tels which are re­quired to main­tain guest data in a very pri­vate man­ner. We are in a prac­tice of main­tain­ing ev­ery­thing in a very safe en­vi­ron­ment so that guest gets a per­son­al­ized sys­tem ex­pe­ri­ence. The guest will also get a beau­ti­ful in­ter­face in terms of our web­site and also in terms of of­fer­ings.”

A generic tech­nol­ogy doesn’t mean that cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence can only hap­pen on­line and through devices, check-ins and on­line com­ments. All of th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences need to be part of an in­te­grated, dy­namic sys­tem so that the guests’ ex­pe­ri­ences are at the fore­front of the mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tional team’s mind. If a guest leaves a com­ment about their stay when they check-out of the ho­tel, for ex­am­ple, the right peo­ple need to re­ply and ac­knowl­edge this type of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. If a guest leaves a com­plaint about not be­ing able to stream mo­bile con­tent dur­ing their stay, then pro­cesses should be put in place to en­sure the right per­son fol­lows up by com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the guest and solv­ing the prob­lem at the ho­tel.

“Th­ese days’ peo­ple are look­ing to con­nect to ho­tels which are smart in a man­ner where they can pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence to the cus­tomers which they never for­get. For that we need to put all the ser­vices in place whether in terms of se­cu­rity, data en­ter­ing, and know- ing guest with in­no­va­tive style. Talk­ing about the young gen­er­a­tion who are con­nect­ing to ho­tel chains are tech-ori­ented, they love to work in a more tech-savvy en­vi­ron­ment than the older con­cept,” added Dhi­raj Trivedi, CEO, Im­mense Hos­pi­tal­ity.

The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try’s back­bone is com­prised of cus­tomer ser­vice, a con­cept shared by all seg­ments of the in­dus­try. Your small busi­ness may fo­cus on one or all facets of hos­pi­tal­ity. How ac­com­plished you and your staff are at serv­ing oth­ers will de­ter­mine your busi­ness’ level of suc­cess. You may find it eas­ier to ex­cel in just one cat­e­gory of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. How­ever, though costs and chal­lenges will in­crease, own­ing or man­ag­ing sev­eral facets of hos­pi­tal­ity can pro­vide you with many more op­por­tu­ni­ties to gen­er­ate suc­cess.

The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try is one that is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion. For the most part, it is built on leisure or is lux­ury-based, as op­posed to meet­ing ba­sic needs. Ho­tels and re­sorts, cruise lines, air­lines and other var­i­ous forms of travel, tourism, spe­cial event plan­ning, and restau­rants all gen­er­ally fall un­der the realm of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

This ser­vice-based in­dus­try thrives on the leisure ac­tiv­i­ties of pa­trons. Some of the busi­ness that the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try gar­ners is tran­sient and in­ter­mit­tent, but col­lec­tively, it ac­counts for a large source of its rev­enue. For ex­am­ple, a va­ca­tion­ing fam­ily may fly from one coun­try to an­other, book a ho­tel room for the du­ra­tion of their visit, dine at lo­cal restau­rants, and tour theme parks or other area at­trac­tions. All of th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties in­volve the ser­vices pro­vided by var­i­ous ar­eas of the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try.

Ex­cep­tional ser­vice is usu­ally very im­por­tant for all of th­ese busi­nesses. Cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion usu­ally leads to con­sumer loy­alty, which helps to en­sure the suc­cess of a com­pany in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. For ex­am­ple, if an in­di­vid­ual chooses a par­tic­u­lar air­line and has a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, he or she is likely to use it again in the fu­ture. Al­ter­na­tively, if the flight is un­pleas­ant, the air­line at­ten­dants are rude, or the cus­tomer is oth­er­wise dis­pleased with the ser­vice, he or she is less likely to re­turn to that air­line the next time the op­por­tu­nity arises.

“Tech­nol­ogy has been a driver in hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for­ever since our guest travel from dif­fer­ent ge­ogra­phies and a lot of time are ex­posed to much lat­est tech­nolo­gies than we cur­rently use in this part of globe. This fac­tor keeps all IT hoteliers on their toes to stay ahead of the curve. We as a group were the first ones to bring VSAT in In­dia and later wire­less tech­nolo­gies to keep our guest feel at home away from home and stay con­nected.”

Ashish Khanna, As­sis­tant Vice Pres­i­dent, Cor­po­rate IT,

The Oberoi Group

“IT is set­ting a bench­mark by giv­ing both the staff and cus­tomers an ex­cel­lent ser­vice of tak­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence and pro­vid­ing it at the same place.” J P Aggarwal from Jaypee

Res­i­dency

“CRM is es­sen­tial to pro­vide a de­light­ful ex­pe­ri­ence to the cus­tomers and for a hos­pi­tal­ity brand it be­comes re­ally im­por­tant to per­son­al­ize the ex­pe­ri­ence of the guest, to do that you need to know more about the guest pref­er­ences and store it in the CRM and later re-check it when the guest vis­its the ho­tel the next time this way a cus­tomer gets a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence al­to­gether.”

Kadam Jeet Jain, Co-Founder, Treebo

“Frac­tion of busi­ness is al­most 10-15% from the on­line book­ing con­cept; it is mak­ing a huge dif­fer­ence and also bring­ing a fac­tor of con­ve­nience to book a room in a ho­tel and get al­to­gether a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence from the your booked place.”

San­jay Wad­hwa, Gen­eral Man­ager Radis­son,

Udaipur

“In our un­der­stand­ing EPOS sys­tems are re­placed by mo­bile apps post in­ven­tion of touch based I-PAD and tablet (2010) on­wards. Our se­lected ho­tels have started de­ploy­ing I-PAD and tablet in place of tra­di­tional F&B menu cards.” Har­ish Chan­dra, Gen­eral

Man­ager- In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Sarovar Ho­tels

“On­line book­ing has con­nected peo­ple from far of places and made their travel easy and chaos-free. He also claimed that 30-35 frac­tion of busi­ness of Park Plaza comes from on­line book­ing.”

Ra­men­dra Pratap Singh, Gen­eral Man­ager, Park Plaza,

Noida

“We have cor­po­rate poli­cies in­volved in all the Carl­son ho­tels which are re­quired to main­tain guest data in a very pri­vate man­ner. We are in a prac­tice of main­tain­ing ev­ery­thing in a very safe en­vi­ron­ment so that guest gets a per­son­al­ized sys­tem ex­pe­ri­ence.” Ar­pana Singh, As­sis­tant

Man­ager- In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Radis­son, Udaipur

“Th­ese days’ peo­ple are look­ing to con­nect to ho­tels which are smart in a man­ner where they can pro­vide an ex­pe­ri­ence to the cus­tomers which they never for­get. For that we need to put all the ser­vices in place whether in terms of se­cu­rity, data en­ter­ing, and know­ing guest with in­no­va­tive style.” Dhi­raj Trivedi, CEO, Im­mense Hos­pi­tal­ity

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