Business Traveller (India)
An expert from a software consulting and IT company gives his insight on how technology will drive the return of hospitality
Rohit Nagpal is the senior vice president and global head (travel, hospitality, and retail) at Infogain. Nagpal received his MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo - School of Management and has previously worked as regional sales director and head of hospitality at HCL America. In this issue, Nagpal writes on the importance of tech in the revival of the hospitality industry.
The coronavirus pandemic is one of the most challenging economic crises that the business world has faced. Amongst the various businesses affected by it, the interdependent industries of aviation, hospitality, and tourism bore the maximum brunt.
According to a report by HVS India and ANAROCK, the total revenue for India’s hospitality sector in 2020 is estimated at ₹89,813 crore, a whopping 56 per cent less than the total estimated revenue of ₹1,58,113 crore in 2019. However, the Indian hospitality industry, spearheaded by the hotel market, is on the road to recovering and becoming one of the key drivers of India’s economic growth.
Indian hotels are known globally for offering excellent services. So, while these hotels have been known to use technology in the back end to support customer personalisation for a long time, Covid-19 has pushed the use of technology in the traveller experience, replacing and minimising human contact.
According to a report by Noesis Capital Advisors and Ngage Hospitality titled “Indian Hotels Performance H1 2020-2021” the country’s hotels are likely to reach occupancy levels similar to that of 2019 by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, and technology transformation will play a big role.
Here are some technology transformations that will drive the revitalisation of the hospitality sector in the coming months:
• Ensuring contactless services with apps that help customers self-check-in and check-out with biometric identification or voice and face recognition. Japanese hotels field-tested the biometric guest registration to expedite check-ins for the Olympics.
• Using mobile apps and voice assistants to update guests about room services, cleaning schedules, the safest areas to go to, neighbourhood health status, and any regulation updates as they evolve.
• Implementing the use of QR Codes to view menus on the guest’s phone instead of printed menus.
• For a complete contactless experience and to curb the spread of infection, much of the industry has turned to cashless systems, creating a seamless experience for guests and a fully integrated customer view and allowing for a personalised guest experience.
• There has been a noticeable increase in the use of AI devices, as hotels are integrating voice technologies like Amazon Echo and Google Home with their services to offer customers a wide range of services while dramatically reducing personal interactions.
Amid Covid-19, employing these cuttingedge technologies ensures a personalised guest stay and provides cost-effective management of operations.
Undoubtedly, contactless, frictionless, and automated solutions will be the future of hospitality. Given the pace of the industry’s transformation, this change will create certain gaps that will allow some companies to invest in and create long-term value.
Infogain assists hospitality organisations in deploying these capabilities and become more agile, effective, and profitable as the integration of new-age tech through various stages of the customer journey facilitate the sector’s recovery. Treating digital transformation as a complete business model transformation, our customers build market share, improve profit margins, increase customer loyalty, and lower operational costs through optimised operations with our help.
Employing these cuttingedge technologies ensures a personalised guest stay and provides cost-effective management of operations