It will be highly relevant for hotels, bars and restaurants, where 94% of retail spending is still done in store and geo-technology provides the perfect opportunity to attract nearby prospective customers.
Similarly, Beacons are masts - often using Bluetooth - that are engineered to communicate with iOS and Android operating systems to pass messages between a company and their consumers. A bit like a metal detector, when you are within distance of an active beacon, they can interact with smart devices and even send push notifications.
Second is the next generation of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems that will go beyond logging customer data and behaviours. Using smart data and social media engagement, CRM providers such as Cluboid offer hotels, bars and restaurants a system that reduces time and energy spent of administration and enhances customer engagement and experience. This CMR makes it possible to wish customers a happy birthday, remember their drinks order, and scan social media for photographs so the venues can greet them by name.
Third is the digital/physical interfaces and smartphone pairing which is the fastest growing and favourite method of getting things done. Millions of people are now using smart devices to monitor everything from their fitness activities to their home surveillance equipment.
Venues can allow their guests to add their songs to a virtual playlist via an app linked to an interactive jukebox. Apps such as SecretDJ, Startle and Touchtunes enable you to request music in your favourite bars, pubs and clubs for a more personalised night out.
Charles Goldstuck, CEO of TouchTunes, has been quoted, as saying, consumers today expect a personaliSed experience, whether it is to choose the specific song they want, the toppings on their burger, the dressing on their salad. 2017 will also see the release of the Apple Watch 3 which will decrease the value of the previous 2, making them more affordable and accessible.
The evolution of social media is also a factor, where 90% of consumers polled by Zendesk claim that online reviews and critique influence their spending habits. Social media has been both a blessing and a curse for hospitality. Most importantly, it has enabled businesses to gather feedback and implement appropriate changes for even better customer service.
Last year, social media has gone one step further with live video streaming that enables businesses to see how effective their marketing is in real time. Using the engagement rates from live video on social media, smart hospitality companies will prosper from the ability to alpha and beta test new products, lines and events.
Virtual reality is another way of improving user experience that is already finding its way into the entertainment and hospitality industries. The Marriott Hotels are already in the early stages of testing a new amenity known as 'VRoom Service'. This allows guests to order VR headsets to their room and enjoy a selection of pre-loaded virtual reality experiences for a spot of travel inspiration.
Voice activation is also coming along in leaps and bounds with the introduction of Apple's Siri, Amazon's Echo and Microsoft's Cortana. Voice controlled software is in fact now reaching a level of comprehension as high as 95%.
Last, but not least, comes the growth of online education for the hospitality sector. To keep up with the latest trends in hospitality technology, hospitality managers need ongoing education and online courses offer an ideal format to build skills for this digital age.
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