Technology trends: Cloud, Mobile, Self Service

Expert Opinion

Here’s my perspective on some technology trends that are shaping the hospitality industry. I’d value your views.

So much is going on in the hospitality industry right now, both in terms of technology developments and guest-led trends, and it’s intriguing to see how the two areas are coming together. We’d like to touch on three of many driving forces that we see as capable of shaping the hospitality industry for years to come.

The first is cloud computing. It’s the talk of the industry, and while there are a number of hurdles to cross before its full potential is realised, cloud computing has definitely arrived. In a broad sense, cloud computing is an IT model whereby services, software and processing capacity are delivered via a private or public network. One of its primary advantages is that users can meet many of their needs with a sizeable decrease in computing infrastructure. Other benefits can include a lower cost of ownership as well as the ability to scale up or down as needs change. Cloud computing is especially attractive in today’s economic environment, because it frees IT staff to focus on core business tasks.

The second major trend is an increased interest in mobile applications. In fact, mobile technology is one of the biggest growth areas we’ve seen in years. One of the most practical uses of smartphones and other mobile technology in hospitality is as an extension of the point-of-sale system in the food and beverage area. Here, the technology can be used as an order-taking device, offering a practical and cost-effective way to streamline service in restaurants and bars. Just as with standard POS terminals, smartphone technology enables waiting staff to open guest accounts, select menu items, send orders to the kitchen and settle accounts, but with greater speed and efficiency.

The third driving force, self-service solutions, came to prominence a few years ago and shows no sign of slowing down. In a similar way to mobile applications, self-service solutions enable guests to take charge of their own hospitality experience, from selecting rooms and making dinner reservations to viewing their folios at any time during their stay. These systems also can perform more sophisticated functions, such as producing hotel maps, displaying event schedules and generating special messages. Smart hoteliers are self-service solutions to their advantage, extending their service beyond the front desk, right into guests’ mobile devices.

Here at Agilysys, we’re integrating all these elements into our solutions. Our goal is to help our customers prepare for the future by equipping them with the technology they need to realise a competitive advantage in a tough climate.

– Trevor Roberts, Business Development Director for the EMEA, Agilysys (Europe).

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