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The recently held Hospitality Expo 2018 in Dublin got an overwhelming response and was attended by people across diverse categories – Directors, Proprietors, Senior Managers, Sales & Marketing Managers, Head Chefs, and many more from the fraternity. Almost 67% of the attendees were decision makers from their specific streams. As economies flourish and new markets grow, the hospitality and travel industry is getting a real boost and a strong wave of demand. However, in terms of leveraging technology and digital platform, the sector has to climb major notches.
A report by Deloitte titled ‘2018 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook’ mentions, ‘The hotel industry continues a run of strong performance and is projected to sustain strong 5–6 percent growth throughout 2018. Some analysts are concerned as this industry is usually cyclic, but optimists seem to outnumber pessimists. Throughout the year, hoteliers will be looking for an opportunity in strategic places, including a revisit of the midscale experience, traveller-facing tech, health and wellness, and loyalty.
Ground-breaking organizations and contemporary brands such as Airbnb are definitely creating a mark by taking the primitive concept of home stays to the next level altogether. Application-based marketing and growth is the rule of the game. Simultaneously, players in the sector need to put a lot of focus on how to make various tasks convenient and seamless for the travellers and customers. Specifically, tremendous effort has to go in ensuring better customer experience and customer service, which can be efficiently achieved by levering digital technologies.
Digitization in the Hospitality sector
Emerging technologies, stringent regulations, and evolving customer expectations is making things more challenging for professionals and leaders in the industry. The greatest challenge and opportunity zone for the hospitality sector is to meet the changing customer preferences and embrace new market requirements. Any player in the hospitality sector cannot afford to reach a stagnation point and sit back with the expectations that the profits will keep pouring in without any efforts.
Technology is by far the most consistent enabler and performer for the sector, as it will bring performance, innovation, experience, and growth in all possible ways. The sector needs to consistently ensure its relevance in the market and offer the expected customer experience. Digitization in the hospitality sector is very much needed to take the customer experience to the next level and bring consistency.
Adoption of digital technologies will help to maximize brand visibility, ensure operational efficiencies, and reinvent customer experience. This will help offer innovative solutions for the customers by mobilizing a range of IT solutions. For instance, an automated/robotics-enabled automation process will help transform basic customer enquiries and resolve booking related issues. Manual assistance can come in for much more critical issues. Even chat-bots can be used to make the booking process much more convenient and faster.
Offering a tech-savvy set-up for the customers can be a great solution. However, how do you ensure high-level performance to make these disruptive digital trends work for you? Application-based hotel services with minimal human interface is possible. But how can the hotelier ensure performance of these applications to offer the right experience for the customers? This gap between technology offering and customer expectations can be reduced with robust and rigorous testing efforts.
There are many possible ways in which digitization and emerging technologies can be leveraged to bring growth for the sector. However, it is equally critical to test these applications to deliver performance, functionality, and security for the customers. We will have a look at the key technologies that the hospitality sector can embrace to offer enhanced customer experience and how Quality Assurance has a major role to play to ensure the same.
Power of Chatbots
Diverse industries are exploiting the capabilities of Chatbots to automate regular and repetitive activities that tend to consume unreasonable amount of human effort. Amongst all the industries the hospitality industry needs to harness the Chatbots platform to deliver intelligent conversation with text or voice and enable various processes. This will help the industry to offer seamless 24/7 on-duty chatbots service and assistance to the customers.
However, it is important to monitor the programming of these chatbot platforms and fine-tune the kind of conversation that is expected from these bots. It is also imperative to check the consistency in the interactions and whether the responses are as expected and designed. QA and Software Testing is critical to elicit the right kind of response, strike an intelligent conversation, and ensure improved experience for the customers by leveraging the chatbot platform.
Virtual Reality for near-to-real experience
Moving from brochures to website to user-friendly mobile applications, the hospitality sector has gone a long way in showcasing its offerings to their target group. With Virtual Reality, a new avenue has opened for hoteliers to showcase their properties and amenities to the customers. They can leverage VR tools and applications to practically provide a tour of the property and other sightseeing options for travellers.
VR is being used by diverse industries to promote their services and offerings, however, it is important that these applications are effectively tested to ensure the desired experience. For instance, the applications must support various devices and configurations to offer the expected experience and audio-visual effect to the target group. Apart from overall quality assurance, Performance Testing is specifically needed to ensure the desired resolution and experience.
Connected devices for integrated experience
Exploring the power of Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices is an ongoing process and various industries are leveraging the technology to offer innovative experience. The hospitality sector can definitely leverage IoT platforms and applications for various tasks such as revolutionizing the payment systems, getting accessibility to real-time data of customers, managing similar tasks at distantly located properties, use device-based applications to control various features in the room, and much more.
At the same time, development teams need to ensure the functionality of the systems and most importantly security nodes within the connected system to safeguard sensitive data that gets exchanged. When the applications and systems are checked for quality it will offer an integrated and seamless experience to the users.
Data Analytics for better decision-making
Massive amount of data is exchanged across devices and platforms that can offer great insights for hoteliers to take business decisions, extend inventive offers to selected groups, enhance operational efficiency, and much more. Big Data and Analytics can even help hotels to predict weather conditions and plan their activities for the year. At the same time, it is important to test these applications to check the consistency of the results and whether the reports generated are in line with the continuous flow of data from website and mobile applications.
Digital Assurance and Testing is necessary to not only offer the desired experience, but also to enable the sector to keep innovating and going that extra mile. The hospitality sector is a customer-intensive sector and has tremendous scope for leveraging technology and automation. However, only QA and testing can enable organizations to confirm that the technology is relevant for them and works effectively for their business needs.
Cigniti’s Digital QA service helps organizations in their Digital initiatives. To successfully implement digital transformation, Cigniti has developed checklists, frameworks, processes, testlets, methodologies and best practices to ensure effective and efficient validations of text, images, and videos of applications across devices.
If you think that a particular technology is relevant for your business and need to confirm its application and relevance, connect with our expert to ensure the same.