Every crisis yields entrepreneurial opportunities. This year’s COVID crisis is driving businesses in the hospitality industry to quickly seek out new technologies and novel approaches to customer engagement as they reimagine every aspect of their operations.
A lot of business leaders believe the COVID pandemic didn’t create new trends as much as it accelerated trends that were already emerging. Trends like contactless check-in. Want to show up at your hotel and go straight to your room without standing in line at the front desk? Of course you do! Marriott had an app for that a couple of years ago. What was a nicety in 2018 has become a virtual necessity in 2020.
Hotel and casino resorts are investing heavily in high-tech/low-touch technologies that leverage the convenience and connectivity of the device everybody has on hand, and in hand, every waking moment – their smartphone. After using it to remotely check in, a guest’s mobile phone becomes their room key. A property map. A restaurant guide. And a quick conduit for connecting with housekeeping services or a chatbot cleverly disguised as their concierge.
Clearly, there’s a balancing act that needs to be managed when it comes to “low-touch” customer engagement. Having suffered through the social isolation of COVID lockdowns, we all have a heightened appreciation for the value of human contact. Interacting with people is something we crave now more than ever…and something hotels and casinos have mastered over the years. Diminishing that expertise for the sake of technology would be a mistake.