The coronavirus pandemic is rewriting the rulebook for all industries. As businesses reopen, public health and safety are a top priority. From restaurants to theme parks to retail stores, the need for quick implementation of touchless technologies and improved customer experiences are increasingly more important and are being expedited to keep up with the changing times.
Over the last decade, the shift to these technologies was motivated by a determination for businesses to become more efficient while still providing the best service possible. These options had remained quietly within organizations for years and used to streamline departments such as purchasing, accounting, and scheduling.
Now, as the world looks to expedite touchless guest experiences as a health protocol, these technologies are being brought to the forefront. Embracing these shifts is paramount to remain relevant in tomorrow’s world and now is the time to access technology in a holistic view.
Prior to the world crisis, contactless self-check-in kiosk technology had seen increased interest from businesses such as hotels, theme parks, and parking services trying to reduce face-to-face interactions. These systems automatically sync with online reservation data, allowing it to easily service guests.
Automating the check-in process improves the overall guest experience. By scanning a code at the kiosk, guests quickly receive access to their booking and are on their way. Nonetheless, this self-serve technology does not eliminate the need for staff. Instead, it provides personnel the time and individual guest information required to provide a memorable personalized experience.
The demand for touch-free services will shine a light on cutting-edge innovations already underway in the industry. For example, Princess Cruise Line’s cutting-edge MedallionClass program, first launched in 2017, provides guests with convenient, hands-free access to services ranging from streamlined boarding to unlocking staterooms to touchless pay options for meals and drinks. The services are accessed through a small, wearable Ocean Medallion™.
In addition to the convenience, MedallionClass cruising offers a virtual concierge service to guests that provides personalized recommendations based on their individual preferences, group preferences, and interaction history.
As the pandemic continues, the transformations brought about by the experience will shape guest interactions in every industry. In the post-COVID-19 world, one size will not fit all. The strongest brands will use the opportunity presented to embrace innovation.
Preparing for the future requires a company to consider how their business will change and the lasting impacts of that change. An ability to adapt the use of big data combined with guest-facing technology will be a key to successful planning.