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Aleksandar Popadic

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How software helps during COVID-19 in the hospitality sector

Aleksandar Popadić

Without a doubt, after the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the hospitality industry clearly got the biggest uppercut.

Following the outbreak, some technologies and advancements that have previously been looked at as luxury novelties or conveniences have suddenly become musts to adhere to the latest security measures.

When trends become a must

As you might have experienced yourself, simple tangible restaurant menus were replaced with online menus or scannable QR codes, touchless payment services, in-app ordering features, online booking, and so on. Almost every aspect of the hospitality industry had to digitize its processes to keep the workflow going, as long as the businesses adapted the correct software. The pandemic forced the industry to maximize technology to keep functioning, retain its existing customer base, and offer the appropriate safety options for new customers. With all this in mind, we bring you a few ways in which the hospitality industry can take full advantage of the latest tech trends in order to keep their customers safe and satisfied even in these turbulent times.

No contact communication

Contactless communication has a few forms and can be utilized in several scenarios in the hospitality industry. For most premises, like bars, pubs, and restaurants, such communication options can be implemented through the business’ website or apps. The technology could allow guests to order and pay through their phones, eliminating the need for server interaction.

These options could make customers feel safe as there are fewer touchpoints and can save time and money for the business, as they don’t have to ensure that the menus and card machines are cleaned after every single use.
Such processes can also eliminate the process of entering the orders into the EPOS system and ticket delivery to the kitchen, as the process is automated. Simply put, contactless communication will also help increase overall efficiency while eliminating staff contact.

Delivery/collection optimization

After most nations went into lockdown in March last year, the entire industry was mostly forced to close and operate only as a takeaway/delivery/collection service. During this time, this was the only income source for most businesses in the industry, so it was pivotal that they maximize the efficiency of the new strategy while still tackling the challenges of social distancing and decreasing staff numbers.

Most businesses turned to delivery and collection applications to get the most out of the new situation. By implementing these new technologies, businesses in the industry retained a large chunk of their regular customers, tracked incoming and outgoing orders, and generated revenue while adhering to all safety measures.

Handheld ordering

While these devices aren’t really that new, they sure have gained more ground since the coronavirus outbreak. This tech also manages to cut out orders entering into the EPOS system so servers can each have their own dedicated device per shift and don’t have to touch several surfaces while collecting orders.

Handheld ordering

Better EPOS systems

Since the outbreak, most EPOS systems have been updated and improved to address the latest challenges and cater to the newest needs. For example, most of these systems now support takeaway and delivery modules, making the transition to delivery/takeaway services swift and convenient.

These new possibilities give businesses the chance to keep operating efficiently even with an altered business model and reduced staff while ensuring that the food is delivered on time, keeping customer satisfaction high in the process. These systems can also be integrated into handheld ordering devices and dedicated apps to adhere to the latest needs and mists while allowing business owners to still get a full view of costs, wastage, stock, rotas, and forecasting.

What about hotels?

The hospitality industry is a broad category, which also includes the hotel industry. This sub-segment of the business managed to take a huge blow as well, causing guest numbers to plummet. Several protocols have been implemented to combat the outbreak (and to save the businesses in the industry), from mask-wearing to social distancing and hand-sanitizing. This is still the norm; however, new technological advancements might help the hotel industry make spending time in hotels safer and more convenient.

From the already mentioned online and QR-scannable menus, contactless check-ins, touchless payments, in-app booking, ordering, and mobile room keys, new tech advancements make sure that the industry gets back on track.

Monitoring and facial recognition

In order to help hotels reopen and make their operation safe, several companies have invested their energy to improve the accuracy of facial recognition engines and add new features to meet the needs of hotels to meet the new needs amidst the pandemic. These new features include mask detection (signaling whether they’re wearing masks or not, wearing them properly, and identifying them even when the masks are on).
The engines also have temperature-taking features to adhere to pandemic trends.

Contactless in hotels

The same contactless tech from above can and is already utilized in the hotel industry. Contactless systems enable guests to contact hotel staff. Some companies are even launching products enabling guests to use hotel services through their phones/mobile devices.
This means that guests will be able to pair their phones with their on-room smart TVs using the phones as remotes, enabling them to order room service and enter online in-room paper compendiums.

Super sterilization

Killing airborne viruses with technology? You’ve probably heard about HEPA filters, which can filter out around 99.9% of airborne bacteria and viruses in the form of an electrostatic disinfectant sprayer.
Some companies have made this tech available with FDA Medical Device Clearances that can also be utilized in larger spaces, from hotels to venues, spas, restaurants, cruise ships, shops, etc, without using chemicals.

Location detection

Location detection can double as a great way for touchless check-in upon arrival and it can also prompt payment when checking out.
With integrated on-site capacity limits and real-time data flow, these apps can also signal visitors about the number of customers in a given hotel or hotel area, helping avoid the formation of crowds.
The latter feature can also be used in public transport to alert messengers when the vehicles arrive to avoid overcrowding.

Robotic maids

They might not be as flashy as the robots in Sci-fi flicks, but they can be great assets in limiting person-to-person contact. Some companies are already launching robotic products that are capable of delivering fresh towels, water bottles, and such.
Other service robots have autonomous driving abilities, voice recognition engines, and space-mapping capabilities.
As of yet, they still can’t co-pilot an X-Wing, but what they can do is still pretty impressive.

Looking into the future

Overall, the main focus is to optimize technology to keep both the customers and staff safe while providing real-time business intelligence to keep the workflow going. These tech advancements have become more or less absolute necessities for most businesses that wish to continue the fight against COVID-19.

The technological possibilities we have listed above not only enable restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, and other venues to make swift and smart decisions but can help them increase operational efficiency, improve customer service, and much more.

Aleksandar Popadic

Aleksandar Popadić

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