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What's all the hype about 'contactless' and 'frictionless' in Hospitality?

What's all the hype about 'contactless' and 'frictionless' in Hospitality?


July 2021


For Hospitality, development and diversification have been key to keeping businesses afloat.

We don't need to invest much time in evaluating how the pandemic has changed consumer behaviour. Amazon reported 40% YoY increase in revenue from Q2 2019 to the following period in 2020[1]. The same period saw an increase of 113% for Uber Delivery[2] which includes Eats, Connect & Freight.

 

Shopping trends have undoubtedly shifted online. The Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce estimated that US ecommerce sales grew by 44.5% from Q2 2019 to the same period in 2020[3]. I’ve no doubts we’ll see even greater numbers once the data is crunched for this year's Q2.

 

But for Hospitality, the doors have been shut. Locked and re-opened several times, over the last 15 months. Many restaurants and hotels have looked to re-purpose the space ordinarily used for diners and guests for larger production kitchens fuelling the delivery market. Development and diversification have been key to keeping businesses afloat.

 

Enhancing Hospitality with digital

 

What's key however, is how life will look once the doors are re-opened permanently, with no restrictions, entrance and exit only, no masks...

 

I strongly believe it'll have fast tracked the white glove approach to service, to a tailored digital service. Let's be clear, this doesn't reduce the quality of the guest experience, it purely gives the customer the choice to scale the human interaction.

 

The offset isn't as you might think. Five-star service will still require many people in supporting roles. A lot of it will simply go on behind the scenes; backstage.

 

The upside for hoteliers is actually in data. The more interactions completed digitally, the richer the insights, the more simplified the revenue tracking, the greater the visibility over the value of individual customers, and a significant impact on reducing fraud and loss of revenue due to frustrating payment moments; long queues at bars, getting attention at the right time, or simply forgetting to pay the bill after a long fun night out.

So what's in it for us, the consumers?

 

If we decide we want to, we can take care of all our booking needs, our in-restaurant and hotel experiences, digitally. We can choose for our transactional data to be stored to build a profile of what we purchased, where we bought it, when and how we paid. If we allow a profile to be built, our service the next time - and every time afterwards – will become tuned to our habit, more customised, or perhaps best put, simplified.

 

Some places go as far as to request whether you like to be greeted by your first name, or whether you prefer to simply glide through the reception without acknowledgment, these choices can be saved in your profile.

 

It doesn't end there, the benefit is that once an organisation is able to realise your value to them, they can reciprocate. This is where loyalty kicks in. Whether a member organisation, a customer rewards program, or simply a points-for-prizes loyalty card, there are chances to reward customers with monetary credits and gifts, experiences and/or exclusive experiences. Now who doesn't like a bit of VIP treatment.

 

In my view, payments and the use of frictionless or contactless experiences are supported by smart technical integrations. With the right data protection, compliance and securities in place, the data profile can build a truly custom experience, which, if delivered, gives opportunity to drive incremental revenue from happy customers. It also prevents losing them.

 

The question is; is the digitisation of services for everyone? No. But is a tailorable approach, and the choice of how much or how little a customer wants to do online the way forward? Yes, I believe it is.

 

Sources
[1] Amazon
[2] Fox Business
[3] Digital Commerce 360

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